The US Capitol. (Photo by Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The Senate overwhelmingly passed a $95 billion foreign aid bill in a 79-18 vote tonight, putting an end to a monthslong political stalemate in Congress over funding for Ukraine that also ensnared billions for Israel and Taiwan. 

Senators rushed to approve the supplemental funding legislation after it was approved by the House on Saturday, cutting short a planned recess this week. 

The bill now moves to President Joe Biden, who told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a Monday phone call he would sign the legislation into law and “quickly provide significant new security assistance packages to meet Ukraine’s urgent battlefield and air defense needs,”  the White House said in a readout following the call. 

In a statement, Biden tonight pledged that “I will sign this bill into law and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week.”

Additional aid for Ukraine could be made available “within days” said Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, who declined to comment on what could be included in the latest arms package.

Politico on Monday reported that the Defense Department had begun preparing a new tranche of weapons for Ukraine that would potentially include Bradley Fighting Vehicles, old Humvees and M113 armored personnel carriers along with direly-needed munitions.

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In a report published earlier today that cited two US officials, Reuters said the package would be worth about $1 billion and include Stinger air defense munitions, additional ammunition for high-mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), 155 millimeter artillery ammunition and other weapons.

Funding for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan has been held up for months by opposition from ultra-conservative House Republicans, who opposed an almost-identical supplemental funding bill approved by the Senate in February because it contained aid for Kyiv. 

House Speaker Mike Johnson ultimately overcame that obstruction by bringing separate Ukraine, Israel and Indo-Pacific bills to the floor, with the Ukraine supplemental gaining the support of House Democrats and only about half of House Republicans.

In contrast, approval of the supplemental in the Democrat-controlled Senate seemed assured with strong bipartisan support, and a 80-19 procedural vote to move it forward earlier today foreshadowed its easy passage. 

“We had difficulty on the Republican side,” acknowledged Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a major GOP backer of Ukraine aid.

“I think the demonization of Ukraine began by Tucker Carlson who — in my opinion — ended up where he should have been all along, which is interviewing Vladimir Putin,” he said following the first vote. “He had an enormous audience, which convinced a lot of rank and file Republicans this was a mistake.” 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, hailed progress on the bill as a feat of hard-won bipartisanship, saying that “when it mattered most, both parties found a way to work together, even when it wasn’t easy.”

The $95 billion supplemental includes: 

$60.8 billion in Ukraine-related funds, including: $13.4 billion to replenish US stockpiles, $13.9 billion for the procurement of defense technology, $13.7 billion to buy additional defense materiel for Ukraine, $7.3 billion for US operations in Europe and $26 billion on oversight of Ukraine aid.
$26.4 billion in assistance for Israel and Gaza, including: $4 billion for Iron Dome and David’s Sling, $1.2 billion for Iron Beam, $3.5 billion in Foreign Military Financing for Israel, $4.4 billion to replenish US stocks, and $9 billion in humanitarian aid.
$8.1 billion for various Indo-Pacific security needs, including: $3.3 billion for the submarine industrial base, $2 billion for support to Taiwan and $1.9 billion to replenish stocks given to Taiwan. Funds for the submarine industrial base would add $1.9 billion for advanced procurement of the Columbia-class submarine and $200 million in advance procurement for the Virginia-class submarine.
A number of policy provisions that were not originally in the Senate’s supplemental, including language that would ban TikTok in the United States unless its Chinese owners divest from the social media app, the transfer of $5 billion in repossessed Russian assets to Ukraine, and increased sanctions on Russia and Iran.

The passage of the supplemental has also been eagerly anticipated by the defense industry, which is awaiting billions in new contracts for weapons to be sent to US partners or to replenish the Defense Department’s own coffers. 

During an earnings call on Tuesday, RTX Chief Operating Officer Chris Calio said that about two-thirds of the needs outlined in the Ukraine supplemental could be fulfilled with RTX products such as the Patriot missile defense system, NASAMS air defense system and munitions such as AMRAM and AIM-9X.

The Israel and Indo-Pacific portions of the bill are about 30 percent “addressable” by RTX products, including Israel’s Iron Dome and requirements in the Indo-Pacific for munitions like Standard Missile 6 and the Tomahawk missile, he added.

“The services will have their specific list of what they’re looking for. But, again, we think our product portfolio is pretty well positioned to address the needs in each of those theaters,” Calio said. 

Speaking at his own quarterly earnings call today, Lockheed Martin CEO Jim Taiclet said the supplemental, coupled with the fiscal 2025 budget request, would provide the company with a “strong underpinning for future growth over the next several years.”