Senate Unveils $95 Billion Gift Basket for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan – Border Security Left in the Dust.

Orhan Cam /
Orhan Cam /

In an eye-rolling turn of events, the Senate, undeterred by conservative opposition, has taken a bold step forward with a $95.3 billion foreign aid package destined for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. This contentious move, despite a resounding 67–27 vote, is now hurtling toward a final floor vote that promises to ruffle more than a few feathers later this week.

The bill, showering over $61 billion on Ukraine, $14 billion on Israel’s tussle with Hamas, and $4.83 billion for Indo-Pacific partners like Taiwan, aims to counter Chinese communist aggression. However, the glaring question from the Republican corner is: should the U.S.–Mexico border not be secured before we start generously doling out funds to our overseas pals?

This debate has been brewing in the Senate, with prominent conservative Republicans raising their eyebrows and objections. The urgency of this foreign aid spectacle was underscored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who, in an unexpected move, lamented the rare occurrence of having to work on Super Bowl Sunday. But alas, the Senate’s priorities seem to be elsewhere.

Schumer’s justification for this peculiar timing revolves around the crisis in Ukraine, as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion has turned parts of Eastern Europe into a war zone reminiscent of the Second World War. The dire situation in Ukraine, according to Schumer, necessitates immediate assistance from the U.S., lest Putin triumphs.

This controversial decision follows the recent standoff where Senate Republicans thwarted a more comprehensive foreign aid package that included provisions for border security. Republicans, unimpressed with the earlier bill’s efforts to address illegal immigration, found their voice against it. Former President Donald Trump, not one to shy away from the limelight, suggested that future foreign aid should be structured as loans. A sentiment echoed with no interest and an unlimited repayment period.

Unfazed by this opposition, President Biden, who has been banging the drum for aid for months, warned Congress of “neglect” if they fail to pass the measure. But the plot thickens. Republican Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), smelling a rat, pledged to throw a wrench into the proceedings by delaying the final vote on the aid package. In a fiery Fox Business interview, Paul labeled the decision to send $100 billion overseas to fix someone else’s border before addressing our own as “criminal neglect.”

Joining the ranks of the disgruntled, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) took to the Senate floor, unleashing a four-hour verbal tirade on Feb. 10 to stall the procedural vote. “Mr. President, we cannot send billions of dollars to Ukraine while America’s borders are bleeding! This betrayal is all the more loathsome because it occurs at a time when the eyes of the nation are turned to sport and family and fun,” exclaimed Lee, with the Super Bowl as his backdrop.

As the Senate appears careening towards a vote, the real drama awaits in the House. Skepticism is growing among Republicans, with Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) contemplating splitting aid provisions into separate measures upon the bill’s arrival from the Senate. A stand-alone aid bill for Israel already met its demise in the House last week. Democrats and conservative Republicans united against it in favor of the Senate’s Ukraine border package, which promised funding cuts to balance the aid.

As the tension escalates and frustrations mount, the Senate’s decision to prioritize international generosity over securing domestic borders leaves conservatives exasperated and at their wit’s end. The foreign aid fiasco unfolds, and the nation watches, wondering if common sense will prevail or if we’re in for a ride on the political rollercoaster.