Republicans in the US Senate have blocked a bill that would have allowed for more funding for Ukraine on Wednesday.
Most GOP legislators voted against the bill, according to the Hill. Democrats Ed Markey, Bob Menendez, Alex Padilla and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Bernie Sanders – an independent from Vermont – joined the Republicans who refused to back the legislation.
The $118 billion package included $60 billion in military aid for Ukraine and $14 billion in military assistance for Israel.
The bill was touted by Biden as a compromise with the Republicans who have been refusing to greenlight more money for Ukraine unless the president agrees to a comprehensive border security and immigration reform.
Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, warned before the vote that there was “no real chance” that the bill would pass, as the GOP has been arguing that Biden’s offer was not enough to effectively end “the border crisis.” Other Republicans insisted that a border bill should not be tied to Ukraine aid.
“This is the most outrageous thing that I have been a part of in my 16 years in Congress,” Senator Chris Murphy told NBC News shortly after the vote. “We’ve learned that Trump is fully and completely in charge of the party, and they are rudderless otherwise.”
Murphy was referring to former president Donald Trump’s staunch opposition to Biden’s bill. Trump, who is on track of becoming the GOP candidate to challenge Biden in the presidential election in November, has described the proposed deal as “a sophisticated trap” and urged Republicans to oppose it.
The voting occurred as Ukraine desperately needs additional funding following its failed 2023 counteroffensive against the Russian troops. Officials in Kiev have been urging Western government to provide more ammunition, warning that the Russians could gain an upper hand on the battlefield.
Last month, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pleaded with the GOP, insisting that Congress would “only invite even more bloodshed and more chaos” if the aid to Kiev is not secured. Biden warned this week that “the clock is ticking” in terms of funding Ukraine, and that a further delay would only help Russia.