The Senate voted on Monday evening to advance a bill to send $40 billion more aid for Ukraine in its war against Russia, setting up a final vote possibly on Wednesday.
The tally was 81 to 11 on the first of a potential three procedural votes paving the way for final Senate passage of the funding, requested by President Joe Biden’s administration to keep aid flowing and boost the government in Kyiv nearly three months after the start of the Russian invasion.
All 11 anti votes were Republicans showing how an isolationist Donald Trump-allied wing of the party has split off from the mainstream.
It comes after Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell led a delegation to the region in a show of support for Ukraine.
‘There’s always been isolationist voices in the Republican Party,’ he told reporters on a conference call over the weekend from Stockholm.
‘It won’t create a problem, we’ll get the job done.’
A convoy of pro-Russian troops is seen before the expected evacuation of wounded Ukrainian soldiers from the besieged Azovstal steel mill in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in Mariupol, Ukraine May 16
Russia’s offensive across Ukraine has all-but ground to a halt, except for an attempted pincer movement around Ukrainian troops at Severodonetsk in the east, and an ongoing assault on the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol
Former President Donald Trump issued a statement on Friday criticizing Congress for pushing ahead with sending more aid when American families could not get hold of baby formula
The 11 Republicans who voted not to advance the $40 billion Ukraine aid package
Sending aid to Ukraine has broad bipartisan support as Kyiv resists the Russian invasion.
However, on Monday 11 Republican senators voted not to advance a bill authorizing another $40 billion in aid.
Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee)
John Boozman (Arkansas)
Mike Braun (Indiana)
Mike Crapo (Idaho)
Bill Hagerty (Tennessee)
Josh Hawley (Montana)
Mike Lee (Utah)
Elaine Lummis (Wyoming)
Roger Marshall (Kansas)
Rand Paul (Kentucky)
Tommy Tuberville (Alabama)
Trump set the stage for a split with a statement on Friday criticizing Congress for pushing an aid package when American parents were running short of baby formula.
‘The Democrats are sending another $40 billion to Ukraine, yet America’s parents are struggling to even feed their children,’ he said in an emailed statement.
Sen. Bill Hagerty announced his plan to vote against the bill on Sunday.
‘I certainly don’t have anything against the Ukrainians,’ he told Fox News
‘We want to see them win, but pumping more aid into that country when we’re not taking care of our own country — the best thing that Biden could do is stop the war that he’s waged on American industry.’
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri tweeted of his no vote: ‘That’s not isolationism. That’s nationalism.’
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky single-handedly blocked a vote on the latest package last week as he demanded an inspector general’s report on how the money is being spent.
The libertarian-leaning Paul routinely blocks spending bills with a filibuster, but he is also a non-interventionist when it comes to foreign policy who had great sway during the Trump era, encouraging the then-president’s instincts against engaging in overseas actions.
‘While I sympathize with the people of Ukraine, and commend their fight against Putin, we cannot continue to spend money we don’t have,’ he said in a series of tweets about his blockade.
‘It’s frankly a slap in the face to millions of taxpayers who are struggling to buy gas, groceries, and find baby formula.’
President of Finland Sauli Niinisto, left, shares a word with and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after their meeting the President’s official residence Mantyniemi in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, May 16
The lawmakers also met with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson
But overall there is strong bipartisan backing for more help for Ukraine.
The House passed the measure by 368 to 57, with substantial Republican support, despite all 57 of the ‘no’ votes in the House coming from Republicans.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military said it was working to evacuate all remaining troops from their last stronghold in the besieged port of Mariupol, ceding control of the city to Russia after months of bombardment.
The evacuation likely marked the end of the longest and bloodiest battle of the Ukraine war and a significant defeat for Ukraine.
Mariupol is now in ruins after a Russian siege that Ukraine says killed tens of thousands of people in the city.
With the rest of Mariupol firmly in Russian hands, hundreds of Ukrainian troops and civilians had holed up beneath the city’s Azovstal steelworks.
Civilians inside were evacuated in recent weeks, and more than 260 troops, some of them wounded, left the plant for Russian-controlled areas late on Monday.
‘The Mariupol garrison has fulfilled its combat mission,’ the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in a statement announcing evacuations.