Republicans Break with Party to Back Foreign Aid Bill

( – There is dissension in the Republican Party over aid to Ukraine and Israel, and it showed up starkly in this week’s vote on a bill to send $95 billion to the war-torn countries.

A group of 22 Republican senators broke ranks with the majority of the GOP, and with former President Donald Trump’s view, to vote for the bill. The White House and Democrats have been pushing for more aid to Ukraine, and multiple bills have been batted around, some tying border security money to funding Ukraine and or Israel.

One of the group of GOP senators who voted for the bill is Jerry Moran of Kansas. He said the common thread among the group was a concern for national security. What happens in Ukraine affects U.S. national security, he claimed, as does what happens in Israel and “in the South Pacific.” This view is increasingly at odds with not only the GOP and Trump but with the American public, which sees securing the southern U.S. border as more important than funding overseas wars in which the U.S. is not directly involved.

Even five GOP senators who initially disliked the bill ended up voting for the $95 billion passage after their attempts to amend it failed.

Among them are Idaho’s two Republican senators, Michael Crapo and Jim Risch. Risch is the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he said that although the bill was not perfect, it was “strong.” Though it is hard to see how this might be true, Risch claimed the bill made both his state of Idaho and the country as a whole, “safer.”

The most senior of Republicans also joined the Democrats for this effort, including Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and South Dakota’s John Thune. Joni Ernst of Iowa and West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito also voted for the aid package. But Wyoming’s John Barrasso and Steve Daines of Montana, both senior GOP senators, voted against it.

But Senator Rand Paul, who voted against the bill, expressed the predominant view of Ukraine funding among the GOP. He called the idea that the bill was necessary to protect America “ludicrous,” and that sending Ukraine more cash actually endangers the United States.

The bill contains no money at all to secure the southern U.S. border.

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