US Senate passes US$95 billion aid for Taiwan, Ukraine, Israel

US Senate passes US$95 billion aid for Taiwan, Ukraine, Israel
US Senate passes US$95 billion aid for Taiwan, Ukraine, Israel

Washington, April 23 (CNA) The United States Senate on Tuesday passed a package to provide US$95 billion in aid to Taiwan, Ukraine, and Israel which also includes a provision that could lead to a ban on the popular social media app TikTok.

The legislation, which includes four bills, passed the Senate in a 79-18 vote late Tuesday, easily clearing the 60-vote threshold needed to pass most legislation in the chamber.

The package provides US$8.1 billion for Indo-Pacific security, including US$2 billion in foreign military financing (FMF) for Taiwan and other key allies in the region, US$1.9 billion to replenish defense articles and defense services provided to Taiwan and regional partners and US$542 million to strengthen US military capabilities in the region.

FMF is a security assistance grant reserved for important partner nations that enables eligible key allies and friends to purchase US defense articles, training, and services via grant assistance and foster closer military relationships between the US and recipient nations.

As part of the broader foreign aid package, a bill dubbed the 21st Century Peace through Strength Act, includes sanctions on Iran and the seizure of frozen Russian sovereign assets in addition to a TikTok divestment provision that would force TikTok’s China-based parent company, ByteDance , to sell the social media platform or face a ban from app stores in the US

The legislation next goes to President Joe Biden to sign into law, who said he would sign the package Wednesday, according to foreign media reports.

Since the Democratic-controlled Senate passed an earlier version of the measure in February, the US president and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had pressed House Speaker Mike Johnson to vote on the Senate’s version of the US$95 billion foreign aid package.

After two months of delays due to disagreements over sending aid abroad, the House approved the foreign aid legislation last Saturday after making amendments and supplements, sending it to the Senate.

Of note, the Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental bill passed overwhelmingly in the House by a vote of 385-34 last Saturday, while the 21st Century Peace through Strength Act passed 360-58.

On the same day, the House passed the US$61 billion Ukraine foreign aid bill by a vote of 311-112 and the US$26 billion Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act by a vote of 366-58.

(By Chung Yu-chen and Evelyn Kao)


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