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Senate could pass foreign aid bill soon

Senate could move fast on foreign aid package

The Senate is on a glide path to approving the House’s $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan — and maybe even quicker than you’d think.

Senate leaders are looking to speed up final passage of the House bill, which includes a prospective ban of TikTok and the REPO Act. That authorizes the sale of seized Russian assets.

The first roll-call votes on the package are scheduled for early Tuesday afternoon, including a vote to invoke cloture. This starts the 30-hour clock before final passage unless there’s an agreement to vote earlier.

Keep in mind: Senators are already losing part of the scheduled recess this week, so there’s little desire to keep everyone in town through Wednesday night when the 30-hour clock would run out. That could mean cutting a deal on amendment votes if senators are determined to hold the floor, although they can only do so for an hour each.

Senators who oppose the package have demanded votes on a number of amendments and procedural motions. These include:

Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) motion to refer the bill to the Appropriations Committee to add Israel-related provisions.

Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-Utah) amendment to ensure that the “loan” provisions for Ukraine are repaid and go toward paying down the national debt.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has said he’ll offer amendments centered on the Israel portion of the package.

These amendments will all be rejected, and the underlying bill is expected to easily clear the 60-vote threshold. The vast majority of the Senate Democratic Caucus and roughly half the GOP conference will vote for it.

That split among Republicans has been the primary cause of the months-long delay in passing the aid package. The issue of Ukraine in particular has deeply divided the party.

Those divisions played out on the Sunday shows, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) calling out Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) for his opposition to U.S. aid for Ukraine.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Graham said Vance’s arguments are “garbage” and invited the Ohio Republican to visit Ukraine.

“Quit talking about things you don’t know anything about until you go,” Graham said.

— Andrew Desiderio

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