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What’s inside the Senate’s $95 billion bill to aid Ukraine and Israel and counter China



WASHINGTON — The Senate is moving toward a final vote on an emergency spending package that would provide military aid to Ukraine and Israel; replenish U.S. weapons systems; and provide food, water, and other humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.

The Senate jettisoned from the package a bipartisan effort to boost immigration enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border after most Republican senators, following the lead of former President Donald Trump, deemed the bipartisan proposal inadequate. Abandoning the border proposal brought the price tag of the bill down to about $95.3 billion.

If the Senate approves the emergency spending package in the next week, it would then be up to the Republican-led House to take it up, change it or let it die.

Here’s a closer look at the spending breakdown:

SPENDING RELATED TO UKRAINE

About $60 billion in the bill would go to supporting Ukraine as it defends itself from the Russian invasion that began nearly two years ago. There’s nearly $14 billion to allow Ukraine to rearm itself through the purchase of weapons and munitions and another nearly $15 billion for support services such as military training and intelligence sharing.

The support also includes nonmilitary assistance. About $8 billion would go to help Ukraine’s government continue basic operations with a prohibition on money going toward pensions. And there’s about $1.6 billion to help Ukraine’s private sector.

About a third of the money allocated to supporting Ukraine actually will be spent replenishing the U.S. military with the weapons and equipment that are going to Ukraine. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly emphasized that point, saying Friday that the money is about “rebuilding the arsenal of democracy and demonstrating to our allies and adversaries alike that we’re serious about exercising American strength.”

There’s also about $480 million to help Ukrainians displaced by the war.

SPENDING RELATED TO ISRAEL

About $14.1 billion in the bill would go to support Israel and U.S. military operations in the region. About $4 billion would go to boost Israel’s air defenses, with another $1.2 billion for Iron Beam, a laser weapons system designed to intercept and destroy missiles. There’s also about $2.5 billion to support U.S. military operations in the region.

Israel launched its war against Hamas after the militant group’s unprecedented Oct. 7 attack that killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in Israel. About 250 others were taken hostage.

The legislation contains also $9.2 billion in humanitarian assistance to provide food, water, shelter and medical care to civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, Ukraine and others caught in war zones around the world. The war in Gaza has sparked a humanitarian catastrophe that has prompted shortages of the most basic necessities. A quarter of Gaza’s residents are starving.

Senator Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said Friday he’s consulted with the leaders of international humanitarian organizations that have operated for decades in conflict zones around the world.

“Every one of them, every one, has stated that their organizations have never experienced a humanitarian disaster as dire and terrible as the world is witnessing in Gaza,” Van Hollen said.

SPENDING RELATED TO CHINA

More than $8 billion in the bill would go to support key partners in the Indo-Pacific and deter aggression by the Chinese government. The bill includes about $1.9 billion to replenish U.S. weapons provided to Taiwan and about $3.3 billion to build more U.S.-made submarines in support of a security partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom.

OTHER PROVISIONS

The bill includes about $400 million for a grant program that helps nonprofits and places of worship make security enhancements and protect them from hate crimes. There’s also language that would target sanctions on criminal organizations involved in the production of fentanyl.



Kevin Freking , 2024-02-10 03:03:17

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