NATIONAL NEWS

What’s inside the Senate’s $95 billion bill to aid Ukraine and Israel and counter China

Feb 13, 2024, 5:39 AM

FILE - The U.S. Capitol is seen at sunrise, Feb. 7, 2024, in Washington. The Senate has passed an e...

FILE - The U.S. Capitol is seen at sunrise, Feb. 7, 2024, in Washington. The Senate has passed an emergency spending package that would provide military aid to Ukraine and Israel, replenish U.S. weapons systems and provide food, water and other humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, FIle)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, FIle)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate early Tuesday passed an emergency spending package that would provide military aid to Ukraine and Israel; replenish U.S. weapons systems; and provide food, water, and other humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.

The Senate jettisoned from the package a bipartisan effort to boost immigration enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border after most Republican senators, following the lead of former President Donald Trump, deemed the bipartisan proposal inadequate. Abandoning the border proposal brought the price tag of the bill down to about $95.3 billion.

Now that the Senate has approved the emergency spending package, it is up to the Republican-led House to take it up, change it or let it die. Speaker Mike Johnson cast new doubt on the package in a statement Monday evening, making clear that it could be weeks or months before Congress sends the legislation to President Joe Biden’s desk — if at all.

Here’s a closer look at the spending breakdown:

SPENDING RELATED TO UKRAINE

About $60 billion in the bill would go to supporting Ukraine as it defends itself from the Russian invasion that began nearly two years ago. There’s nearly $14 billion to allow Ukraine to rearm itself through the purchase of weapons and munitions and another nearly $15 billion for support services such as military training and intelligence sharing.

The support also includes nonmilitary assistance. About $8 billion would go to help Ukraine’s government continue basic operations with a prohibition on money going toward pensions. And there’s about $1.6 billion to help Ukraine’s private sector.

About a third of the money allocated to supporting Ukraine actually will be spent replenishing the U.S. military with the weapons and equipment that are going to Kyiv. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly emphasized that point, saying in a statement Tuesday that the money is about “reaffirming a commitment to rebuild and modernize our military, restore our credibility, and give the current Commander-in-Chief, as well as the next, more tools to secure our interests.”

There’s also about $480 million to help Ukrainians displaced by the war.

SPENDING RELATED TO ISRAEL

About $14.1 billion in the bill would go to support Israel and U.S. military operations in the region. About $4 billion would go to boost Israel’s air defenses, with another $1.2 billion for Iron Beam, a laser weapons system designed to intercept and destroy missiles. There’s also about $2.5 billion to support U.S. military operations in the region.

Israel launched its war against Hamas after the militant group’s unprecedented Oct. 7 attack that killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in Israel. About 250 others were taken hostage.

The legislation contains also $9.2 billion in humanitarian assistance to provide food, water, shelter and medical care to civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, Ukraine and others caught in war zones around the world. The war in Gaza has sparked a humanitarian catastrophe that has prompted shortages of the most basic necessities. A quarter of Gaza’s residents are starving.

Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said, “2 million Palestinians have been uprooted from their homes. Those homes have been reduced to rubble. Folks are desperately seeking to survive. They lack adequate food, safe water or shelter. Many are injured without anything remotely resembling sufficient medical care or shelter.”

SPENDING RELATED TO CHINA

More than $8 billion in the bill would go to support key partners in the Indo-Pacific and deter aggression by the Chinese government. The bill includes about $1.9 billion to replenish U.S. weapons provided to Taiwan and about $3.3 billion to build more U.S.-made submarines in support of a security partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom.

OTHER PROVISIONS

The bill includes about $400 million for a grant program that helps nonprofits and places of worship make security enhancements and protect them from hate crimes. There’s also language that would target sanctions on criminal organizations involved in the production of fentanyl.

National News

Associated Press

Think cicadas are weird? Check out superfans, who eat the bugs, use them in art and even striptease

FOREST PARK, Illinois (AP) — Mayumi Barrack sees a pair of mating periodical cicadas getting together, whips out her phone, says, “Hi guys!” and takes their picture. “I’m not really a bug person, but as I look more and more I feel they are adorable,” Barrack explained, noting that many other creatures — birds, squirrels, […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Police in Maine cancel shelter-in-place order after explosions and fire are reported

AUBURN, Maine (AP) — Police in Maine have canceled a shelter-in-place order in the city of Auburn after reporting that an armed person was in an area where a series of explosions and a house fire erupted early Saturday. The Auburn Police Department said on Facebook that the situation had been resolved and that there […]

3 hours ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

13 hours ago

Associated Press

Couple rescued from desert near California’s Joshua Tree National Park after running out of water

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A couple hiking in the desert south of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California was rescued after running out of water, authorities said. On Sunday, the man called 911 and reported that his girlfriend was dehydrated and weak, according to a statement from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office posted Monday […]

13 hours ago

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people Friday after they were stuck for about half an hour dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park. Portland Fire and Rescue said on the social platform X that firefighters worked with engineers at Oaks Park to manually lower the […]

14 hours ago

Associated Press

Independent report criticizes Cuomo’s ‘top-down’ management of New York’s COVID-19 response

NEW YORK (AP) — An investigation into New York’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic found former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “top down” approach of dictating public health policy through his office, rather than coordinating with state and local agencies, sewed confusion during the crisis. In the state’s nursing homes, where some 15,000 people died, the administration’s […]

14 hours ago

What’s inside the Senate’s $95 billion bill to aid Ukraine and Israel and counter China