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Friday, July 12, 2024
    HomeWorldAmericaU.S. Senate leader sees fast action on upcoming Ukraine military aid request

    U.S. Senate leader sees fast action on upcoming Ukraine military aid request

    By Richard Cowan

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday said he expected "swift, bipartisan" passage of another bill to aid Ukraine in its fight against Russia once President Joe Biden submits a new funding request.

    While Schumer did not provide any details on the possible size of such a package, he said, "We must continue helping the people of Ukraine in their fight against Russian aggression" and, "I expect swift bipartisan cooperation to get it done."

    Senator Richard Shelby, the senior Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee that oversees the doling out of federal dollars, told reporters that $5 billion in new aid for Ukraine was being discussed.

    "I expect Ukraine is going to need more help, both military and humanitarian," Shelby said.

    It was unclear whether the Ukraine aid package, on top of $13.6 billion Congress approved in March, would move through Congress as a stand-alone measure or would be coupled with a COVID-19 aid bill that Biden and his fellow Democrats in Congress demand.

    Further complicating matters are threats by Republicans to try to attach an immigration-related measure to either of these aid bills. They want to stop Biden from rescinding in late May a Trump administration order issued during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 that has effectively shut down the U.S. immigrant asylum system at its shared 2,000-mile border with Mexico.

    Meanwhile, a federal judge on Monday said he will rule that authorities, for the time being, cannot lift the pandemic immigration restrictions by May 23, as planned.

    While Republicans want the so-called Title 42 order maintained by a vote in Congress, some expressed a willingness to let the Ukraine aid become law unencumbered by the immigration initiative.

    "I certainly want a vote on that. I'm agnostic as to the vehicle" for achieving it, moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins told Reuters.

    Conservative Republican Senator Marco Rubio, referring to the need to keep Title 42 in place, said, "It doesn't have to be part of Ukraine. We can vote on Ukraine by itself."

    Last week, Biden announced the United States was dispatching $800 million in additional military aid to Ukraine, apart from the upcoming legislative proposal.

    (Reporting by Richard Cowan; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman)




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