CORRECTION, Feb. 9, 2024: Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds represent South Dakota. An earlier version of this article had a different state.
A bill to send millions of dollars to Ukraine and Israel made its first step Thursday on what is potentially a long road in the Senate.
A bill that contains only foreign aid spending advanced on a procedural vote a day after a similar bill that also contained proposals for the southern border was torpedoed by Republicans.
The $95 billion bill passed by a vote of 67-32, according to NBC News.
According to The Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was joined by Republican Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia; John Thune and Mike Rounds of South Dakota; Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy of Louisiana; Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska; Roger Wicker of Mississippi; Susan Collins of Maine; Todd Young of Indiana; Mitt Romney of Utah; Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley of Iowa; Thom Tillis of North Carolina; John Cornyn of Texas; and Jerry Moran of Kansas, in supporting the bill.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent, voted against the bill, saying he deplored the Israeli war in Gaza.
The bill includes more than $60 billion in aid for Ukraine and $14 billion in aid for Israel.
“This is a good first step. This bill is essential for our national security,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said.
He said the Senate would keep working on the bill “until the job is done.”
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said that may be a while, because he plans to use every procedural tool at his disposal to slow down the process, according to NBC.
“I think we should stay here as long as it takes. If that takes a week or a month, I’ll force them to stay here to discuss why they think the border of Ukraine is more important than the U.S. border,” Paul said, according to CNN.
The procedural vote sets the stage for what is likely to be a divisive debate over possible amendments to the bill, one called “a midnight train to nowhere” by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
“I think if we get on it, we should use every lever we can to get the right amendment votes,” Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said. “Either way, it’s not going to be quick.”
The Senate is scheduled to begin a two-week recess next week.
“You got to bring it to a conclusion and then we as a conference will have to own the outcome if we choose to halt it,” Tillis said. “I think Schumer would be right to keep us here until we dispose of it. These people say we need to cool off or take a few weeks off — I don’t get that.”
Some Republicans indicated some form of amendments on the border are likely.
“Our border is a bigger national security threat to us, in the short term, than Ukraine. We have not even begun to do what we could do to secure the border. I’ve got ideas, I want people to vote on them,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said, according to CNN.
“I haven’t done all I can do. And when I have made a reasonable effort, when I’ve taken the ideas I’ve had today, and they’ve been flushed through the system, I will support Ukraine,” he said.
Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama said border amendments are probable without duplicating what was in the bill defeated on Wednesday.
“There needs to be some adjustment to the border bill we had, and try to at least look like we’re fighting. We’re, I mean, we got to make a fight for the border,” he said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.