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Senate passes security supplemental, but House prospects murky

Logjam finally broken in Senate, spending package heads to uncertain fate in House

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., led an overnight talkathon to protest the spending bill, but ultimately couldn't stop it.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., led an overnight talkathon to protest the spending bill, but ultimately couldn't stop it. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators passed a $95.3 billion national security package early Tuesday morning to provide military aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, the culmination of months of negotiation and days of procedural maneuvering on the Senate floor.

After a handful of Republican senators finished giving speeches that dragged into the pre-dawn hours, a solid bipartisan majority supported the measure by a vote of 70-29.

The Senate took up the supplemental funding bill after Senate Republicans roundly rejected a previous version that included funds and policy provisions related to securing the southern border. But with the border provisions taken out, the measure garnered enough support to pass the chamber, teeing it up for House consideration. 

But the bill faces uncertain prospects in the House as Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., dismissed the Senate-crafted effort in a late Monday statement, decrying the package’s lack of “real border security provisions” and suggesting that the bill won’t reach the floor in its current form. 

“In the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters,” he said. “America deserves better than the Senate’s status quo.”

The bill had already faced an uncertain future in that chamber. If Johnson opts to not bring the bill up for a vote, Democrats could attempt to force one on it anyway, with the help of a handful of Republicans, by using a so-called discharge petition, although those can be complicated and time-consuming. 

In the Senate, the vast majority of the bill’s 29 opponents were Republicans — a subset of whom spent hours holding the Senate floor in the lead-up to final passage to protest the legislation’s passage. 

But joining the GOP “no” votes were independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has consistently pushed back against the legislation’s planned provision of U.S. military aid to Israel, and Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

Merkley on Monday night voted against agreeing to invoke cloture on the package. In a statement that night, he also took issue with the idea of sending further “offensive” military equipment to Israel. 

“While I have supported military aid to Israel in the past, and continue to support aid for defensive systems like Iron Dome and David’s Sling, I cannot vote to send more bombs and shells to Israel when they are using them in an indiscriminate manner against Palestinian civilians,” he said.

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