House Democratic leaders introduced an additional nearly $40 billion military, economic and humanitarian aid package for Ukraine on Tuesday afternoon, just hours before a scheduled floor vote.
The move came after Senate Republicans said earlier in the day that there were lingering disagreements over the text the owners began circulating in the morning. Negotiators agreed to drop a provision that would allow the settlement of Afghan refugees that was part of President Joe Biden’s initial $33 billion request, for example, after worried Republicans refused verification procedures.
“There are a number of issues that we looked at, and I said I couldn’t support the Afghan bills unless they’re resolved, and some of them would be waivers for those who are affiliated with terrorist organizations or recruited child soldiers, and those are not things we should give up on,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said Tuesday. “It’s in the language, and I can’t not support it in the text.”
Senate Appropriations member Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., said after House Democrats introduced the bill that “we’re really close” to a deal, though it has suggested there could still be tweaks before the measure is approved for Biden’s signature. Other senators said the measure could clear the Senate as early as Thursday.
“Time is running out – and we cannot afford to wait,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to her colleagues announcing the bill’s release. “With this aid package, America sends a resounding message to the world of our unwavering determination to stand with the brave people of Ukraine until victory is won.”