A $118 billion spending package that included massive changes in America’s immigration policy and billions for Israel and Ukraine failed in the U.S. Senate Wednesday, despite the vocal support of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). Sen. Maggie Hassan voted in favor of the doomed bill as well.
The measure, negotiated by a bipartisan group of senators over four months, failed a procedural vote 49-50. Only four Republican senators voted for it, while four Democrats — and socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders — voted against it.
In remarks before the vote, Shaheen said her primary focus was the funding for Ukraine — $60 billion in military aid, plus $10 billion for humanitarian aid that would go to both Ukraine and Hamas-controlled Gaza.
“Providing aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, along with humanitarian assistance for the people of Gaza and for other vulnerable populations: it’s what’s in this bill, and it sends a strong message that America stands on the side of freedom and democracy and against dictators and terrorists,” Shaheen said. “If signed into law, it will provide Ukraine with the necessary aid to continue its war against Putin— a fight for freedom which Ukraine must win.”
“The Europeans got their act together. Last week, they provided $54 billion in aid to Ukraine,” Shaheen added. “Well, it’s time America gets its act together.”
A majority of her fellow senators, including Democrats Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren of neighboring Massachusetts, disagreed. Sanders refused to back the bill because it would fund Israel’s war with Hamas.
“This bill provides $10 billion more in U.S. military aid for the Netanyahu government to continue its horrific war against the Palestinian people,” Sanders said in a statement. “That is unconscionable. I will be voting NO.”
Shaheen, who sits on both the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democratic senators at a press conference Wednesday to push for the bill.
“The modern-day Republican Party, the party of Ronald Reagan, was built on standing up to our Soviet adversaries,” Shaheen said. “But MAGA Republicans are willing to put at risk our national security to let Ukraine fail simply because they think it will help their preferred presidential candidate, former President Trump, in November.
“That’s spineless, and it’s wrong.”
A recent Gallup poll shows Americans’ support for sending aid to Ukraine has fallen sharply. One year ago, just 28 percent of respondents said the U.S. was “doing too much” to help Ukraine. That number has risen to 41 percent, while the percentage who believe America isn’t doing enough has fallen from 30 to 25 percent.
Hassan has not commented on the bill, and there is no mention of it on her official website. She declined repeated requests for comment from NHJournal.