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US Senate vote for Ukraine passes

By Toni Piechota

Today marked an important success in the United States Senate when a vote passed to move forward with supporting military aid to Ukraine as well Israel and Taiwan months after the aid authorisation expired. Just after an agreement based on prior compromises was about to be put up for a vote, An unprecedented move was taken when Matt Gaetz, a member of the far-right, pro- MAGA Freedom Caucus, motioned to remove the Speaker of the House, a relatively moderate pro-Trump Republican just before a vote, based on a prior compromise, was to be taken in the House to continue aid to Ukraine. The period during which there was no official Speaker added to the delay in approving aid.

In September, the Republican-led House of Representatives had refused to support aid for Ukraine unless and until the southern border of the United Sates was secured.

However crucial aid to Ukraine should have been renewed at that time.

After some scuffling, a new speaker was elected, and one who seemed to have more extreme right views. And he also had anti-Ukraine views, based not on statements but not followed up with actual support for Russian interests.

Subsequently Democratic Senate Majority Leader Schumer put forth an emergency funding bill which was voted down along party lines, the rationale, once again being, that the so-called border crisis in the United States would have to be addressed as well in order for any funding resolution for Ukraine to be reached..

Herculean efforts were made by three Senators in particular, including Lankford of Oklahoma and Sinema of Arizona to formulate a 300-page bill that strengthened border security and included aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. Before the ink was dry, however the bill was declared by the House as ‘dead on arrival’. McConnell and Johnson both stated publicly that, following calls with US Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, the request (or should it be threat?) was made that ‘no border bills should be passed” because Trump wants to run for re-election as President on the border issue. Overnight, McConnell changed his support. Lindsey Graham, who had stated during a trip to Ukraine earlier in the war, that he would not abandon Ukraine, on this occasion did.

With the expectation, then overnight that the Republican-demanded combined border security and Ukrainian aid bill would not pass, Schumer prepared a proposal that stripped the border funding from the bill, leaving the Senate to vote on an aid bill that would fund Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Today, that passed with 67 aye votes. More work will be required before this bill moves to the House where its fate is in the air, but strategies to ensure a vote in the House are ongoing. The high number of Senate votes and the humiliating defeats of two recent votes in the House promoted by Speaker Johnson, one to impeach the Head of Homeland Security, the other to pass a bill to fund Israel alone, failed.

In the United States these days, we are taking our good news where we can, and the vote yesterday is a much needed boost when our Ukrainian allies are suffering.

Hats off to the collection of individuals who pulled together to try to impact these positive votes by getting a critical mass of calls to targeted representatives. Of note also are Twitter’s “cc sparkles” and “Angry Ants” who tirelessly push Ukraine supporters to contact reps daily until they get sick of us. Three calls does little, but hundreds of people calling daily may prove to be the critical mass. It’s one of the few weapons supporters have is to contact your government officials to honour our commitments as well as to to the right thing for the brave and resilient soldiers fighting in hellish conditions for their freedom.


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