Senate approves aid to Ukraine, funding for Israel and path to TikTok ban, sending bill to Biden's desk

WASHINGTON – The Senate overwhelmingly approved Tuesday a $95 billion package to provide critical aid to Ukraine and enact a law… A clause that could lead to a nationwide ban on TikTok.

The vote was 79-18 He sends the package to the White House. Fifteen Republicans and three Democrats voted against the legislation. The House of Representatives approved the package on Saturday.

President Joe Biden said Tuesday night that he would quickly enact the measure.

“I will sign this bill into law and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week,” he said in a statement. “This important legislation will make our nation and our world safer while supporting our friends who defend themselves against terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin.”

Package This includes $60 billion in aid to Ukraine, which President Volodymyr Zelensky said would give his country a “chance for victory” against Russia. It also includes $26 billion in aid to Israel and humanitarian relief in Gaza, as well as $8 billion for security in Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region.

The law will give TikTok's China-based parent company nine months, which the president can extend to a year, to sell or ban the popular social media platform in the United States. This brings TikTok closer than ever to being banned while ensuring its victory. It will not be banned until after the 2024 election. TikTok said it will fight the law in court once it is signed into law.

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American and Ukrainian flags fluttered near the US Capitol on Saturday as the House of Representatives delivered aid to Ukraine.Nathan Howard/Getty Images

“Finally, finally, finally,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “Tonight, after more than six months of hard work, and many twists and turns along the way, America is sending a message to the entire world: We will not turn our back on you.” On the Senate floor moments before the vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declared Tuesday an “important day for America” after months of GOP infighting over whether to continue funding Ukraine. “We've turned the corner on the isolationist movement,” McConnell said, attributing the delay to two men: former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson for his “demonization of Ukraine” and former President Donald Trump for his “mixed views” and past resistance to helping the country.

While pushing for the legislation, Biden directed his team to pursue a strategy of sticking to substance, not policy, to get aid to Ukraine across the finish line, an administration official said. This included staying in close contact with Johnson and his staff and stopping targeted attacks against him as much as possible while widely urging House Republicans to act. This also means emphasizing the intelligence picture and national security risks that inaction might entail for America, the official said.

Biden's meeting with congressional leaders at the White House in February “really charted the course, and we left saying we have to get this done. Let's deepen the dialogue about what we're going to do,” said Steve Ricchetti, an adviser to the president. To arrive there.”

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“One of his superpowers is knowing how to get these things done,” Richetti added of Biden’s role in the negotiations.

Two months ago, the Senate voted 70-29 to pass a similar $95 billion foreign aid package — but without the TikTok provision. However, the Senate proved it Receptive to the TikTok ban bill, which was reviewed by the House of Representatives. A previous bill passed by the House of Representatives would have given the parent company six months to sell TikTok, less than the current one.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., chair of the Commerce Committee, supported the new bill, saying she was “very happy” with the expanded window to sell TikTok. Cantwell indicated she recommended the change.

“I support this updated legislation,” she said.

Advocates of the app's U.S. ban are expressing concerns about TikTok's relationship with ByteDance, a Beijing-based company, saying the Chinese government could access Americans' data, under Chinese law, a possibility TikTok has downplayed, saying it is headquartered in Singapore. And Los Angeles. They also claim that China can manipulate the algorithm to boost propaganda.

A TikTok spokesperson responded to the House vote over the weekend by saying: “It is unfortunate that the House is using the cover of critical foreign and humanitarian aid to once again obfuscate a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 people.” One million Americans, destroying 7 million companies, and shutting down a platform that contributes $24 billion to the American economy annually.

A source inside TikTok shared an internal memo sent after the House passed the bill that said once Biden signs it into law, it “will move to the courts for a legal challenge.”

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Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee pressed his colleagues to reject the package, saying 41 senators could join in blocking it.

“The $95 billion bill doesn't need to pass. It only takes 41 senators to stop it Written on X. “There are 49 Republicans in the Senate — that's more than enough. Where do your senators stand?

In the end, he fell away.

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