Cloture Votes Set the Stage for Prolonged Process
The Senate is gearing up for a potentially drawn-out process as Majority Leader Chuck Schumer files additional cloture votes, signaling a step closer to a final vote on a $95 billion aid package for Ukraine and Israel. Senate aides have indicated that the vote could take place anytime between Friday evening and Tuesday, subject to the procedural rules governing the timing of the vote.
Democrats Hope for Agreement with Republicans on Amendments
After the cloture vote, Schumer expressed hope for reaching an agreement with Republican colleagues on amendments to the package. He stated, “For the information of senators, we are going to keep working on this bill until the job is done.”
$95 Billion Package Advances in Cloture Vote
The aid package, which includes $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, $9 billion in humanitarian assistance for Gaza, and nearly $5 billion for the Indo-Pacific, advanced in a 67-32 cloture vote on Wednesday. This vote, also known as a motion to limit debate on a bill, moved the package to a final vote, requiring a three-fifths majority.
Republicans Had Previously Blocked $118 Billion Package
The Democrats brought the $95 billion package up for a vote after Republicans had blocked a $118 billion package that included border and immigration provisions. Republicans had insisted on securing the southern border before approving funding for Ukraine. However, the standalone bill without border provisions has now advanced.
Additional Cloture Vote Needed for Debate and Amendments
Senators now await an additional cloture vote before entering a period of debate and the opportunity to add amendments over the next few days. Republicans are expected to bring forth related proposals. However, the absence of border language in the package may complicate the consideration of border-related amendments.
Prolonged Discussions and Procedural Intricacies Expected
The road to a final vote remains uncertain, with expectations for prolonged discussions and procedural intricacies that could potentially delay a definitive decision. Some senators have even joked about the possibility of votes lasting until Super Bowl Sunday. Senator Rand Paul has vowed to make the process challenging, indicating his intention to keep senators in session through the weekend.
Debates, Amendment Votes, and Deliberations Could Extend into Late Next Week
As the Senate braces for a marathon of debates and the possibility of amendment votes, the specter of prolonged deliberations looms. The process could spill into late next week, raising the stakes for the passage of the aid package for Ukraine and Israel.
Meanwhile, in the lower chamber, Republicans attempted to pass a standalone bill providing aid only to Israel on Tuesday. However, the bill failed to pass with 14 Republicans and 166 Democrats voting against it.