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Biden to sign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

Biden to sign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan
Biden to sign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

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U.S. President Joe Biden said he will sign legislation Wednesday providing $95 billion in aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan after the Senate gave its approval late Tuesday.

The 79-18 vote came after months of delays, which included the Senate passing a similar measure and leaders in the House of Representatives refusing to hold a vote of their own amid disagreements over sending aid abroad and security priorities at home.

The House renewed the effort after negotiations among congressional leaders to overcome objections, ultimately approving the measure by a vote of 311-112 on Saturday.

Ukraine’s battle against a Russian invasion is the major focus of the package, with $61 billion going toward that fight.

The bill also includes $26 billion for Israel at a time when it is battling Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, and $8 billion for countering China’s actions threatening Taiwan and other allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

Biden said in a statement shortly after the Senate vote that the United States could start sending weapons and military equipment to Ukraine this week.

“This critical legislation will make our nation and world more secure as we support our friends who are defending themselves against terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” Biden said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been urging allies to provide more aid to help his military match up against Russia’s forces, particularly to defend Ukrainian cities from daily missile and drone attacks.

Zelenskyy thanked Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell following the Senate approval, saying the vote “reinforces America’s role as a beacon of democracy and the leader of the free world.”

“Ukraine’s long-range capabilities, artillery, and air defense are critical tools for restoring just peace sooner,” Zelenskyy said.

Schumer said late Tuesday the United States will soon deliver ammunition and air defenses to help Ukraine resist Russia, send aid to Israel to fight Hamas and stand up to Iran, deliver food and medicine to civilians in Gaza, and help allies resist China.

“We tell our allies, we stand with you. We tell our adversaries, don’t mess with us,” Schumer said.

McConnell told the Senate ahead of the vote that the world was watching to see how lawmakers would act.

“History will record that even as allies and partners may have worried about the depth of our resolve, even as Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran grew more convinced that our influence had run its course, and even as loud voices here at home insisted on abandoning the responsibilities of leadership, America stepped up,” McConnell said.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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