Senate Advances Ukraine Aid, TikTok Divestment Bill in Key Vote

(Bloomberg) -- The Senate advanced a $95 billion emergency aid package for Ukraine and other besieged US allies, putting the bill on track for final congressional approval.

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The Defense Department is prepared to begin shipping arms to Ukraine within days, allowing long-delayed weaponry to reach the battlefield within weeks, a White House official said.

The popular TikTok social media app also faces a US ban under the legislation unless Bytedance Ltd divests within 360 days, a provision the China-based corporate parent says it will fight in US courts.

Read More: TikTok Ready to Fight US Ban With 170 Million Users at Stake

Senate passage of the bill would end an impasse over aid President Joe Biden requested six months ago, a delay that has highlighted growing isolationism in the Republican party and undermined the credibility of US global strategic commitments.

The 80-19 procedural vote Tuesday to limit debate on the aid package, which also includes assistance for Israel and Taiwan, forces a final Senate vote by Wednesday. Republican opponents are expected to allow a vote late Tuesday evening.

The bipartisan vote “should put some wind in the sails of those on the ground, doing the fighting,” said Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy.

Senate approval of the package was a foregone conclusion after the House overwhelmingly approved the bill on a 311 to 112 bipartisan vote. Speaker Mike Johnson pressed forward with legislation even though a majority of lawmakers in his own Republican party opposed it.

The $61 billion for Ukraine includes $13 billion to replenish US stockpiles for weapons already given to Ukraine and $14 billion for US-made defense systems to be provided to Ukraine. It also has $7 billion for US military operations in the region. The bill’s $9.5 billion in economic assistance to Ukraine comes in the form of a loan that the president can fully forgive after the next election.

The loan idea was first floated by Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and was a key tweak to the legislation made by House GOP leaders.

That bill also allows the confiscation of Russian dollar assets to help fund assistance to Ukraine.

Read More: US House Passes $95 Billion to Aid Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan

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