Nine GOP Senators Switched Positions to Pass Foreign Aid Bill

The foreign aid bill passed through the Senate on Tuesday, thanks in large part to nine Republicans who switched their position on the issue from what it was back in February.

On Tuesday, the Senate first advanced the bill with a procedural vote that went down 80-19. Then, on Tuesday night, the bill was passed by a vote of 79-18. President Joe Biden then signed the bill into law on Wednesday.

The bill totals $95 billion, and will provide foreign aid to Ukraine and Israel. It also includes a provision that will ban TikTok in the United States unless the owner of the social media app, ByteDance, doesn’t sell to an American company by a deadline.

The nine Republican senators who switched their vote from when a tally was last taken in February were Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Pete Ricketts and Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Markwayne Mullin and James Lankford of Oklahoma, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Tom Cotton of Nebraska and Katie Britt of Alabama.

Following the vote, Politico quoted Graham as saying:

“It’s just so much easier to go back home and say, ‘Listen, we’re asking people to pay us back when they can if they can.’ This is just a much better package. It’s more robust for Israel.”

In addition to these nine Republicans, Democratic Senator Peter Welch of Vermont also switched his vote from no in February to yes this week.

The package will give $26 billion in assistance to Israel as well as Gaza humanitarian aid, $60.84 billion to Ukraine and another $8.12 billion for the Indo-Pacific region, which includes Taiwan.

Of the total amount of funding that’s going to Ukraine, 80% of it will go toward replenishing American stocks and weapons, while the rest will come in the form of forgivable loans.

As Mullin explained to reporters following the vote:

“This is the right thing to do, 100%, but the issue that you had is … it’s political season. So, politics had to go in front of the policy on this one. What messed up last time is the policy went in front of the politics.

“Our approach this time was to make sure the politics are set, meaning that President Trump was on board, it’s something that can be passable, it’s something that can be explained and that Republicans and Democrats are both comfortable with voting for.”

After signing the bill Wednesday, Biden condemned Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, while also stressing how urgent it was for the U.S. to provide additional aid to Ukraine.

Within hours of signing the bill, Biden said the U.S. would begin to send the equipment to Ukraine from the stockpiles it already has, then replacing those with new products that are made by American companies, including artillery shells and patriot missiles.

As Biden said:

“In other words, we’re helping Ukraine while at the same time investing in our own industrial base, strengthening our own national security, supporting jobs in nearly 40 states all across America.”