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US Senate meets on aid to Ukraine: Why today's vote may not happen

US Senate meets on aid to Ukraine: Why today's vote may not happen Photo: The US Senate will begin consideration of aid to Ukraine today (Getty Images)
Author: Daryna Vialko

The US Senate has convened to discuss the allocation of funds for aid to Ukraine. However, the final vote on the bill proposed by Republican Mike Johnson may not take place today.

The material was prepared based on the schedule of the US Senate, statements from Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova, as well as publications from Politico and CNN.


When will the US Senate finally approve aid to Ukraine

Live Stream of the US Senate Session:

According to the US Senate schedule, senators are scheduled to hold two roll call votes on bills to aid Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and US national security issues today.

The first vote will be on Senator Chuck Schumer's amendment to H.R. 815, which would combine all the bills passed by the House into one package. That is, four separate documents will be added as one amendment to the Senate bill HR.815, which was adopted on February 13, 2024.

The second vote is the beginning of consideration of the package of bills under the accelerated procedure, which makes it impossible to have long debates on a particular issue. This procedure is also called "overcoming a filibuster".Filibustering allows senators to hold endless debates. Once, a senator gave a speech for more than 21 hours in a row.

To overcome the filibuster, at least 60 votes out of 100 are needed, which means that the Democratic majority will need the help of at least 9 Republicans. Given that the Republican Party has enough supporters of Ukraine in the Senate, this is not likely to be a problem.

After that, the US Senate will have 30 hours to discuss the bill (but no more than 1 hour per senator) and finally approve it.

"Last time in February, senators' speeches lasted all night. And in fact, the duration of this part of the procedure will depend on how many senators wish to speak and how long they will speak," explained Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova.

This means that the final vote is likely to take place either by the end of April 23 or tomorrow, April 24.

What does the bill include

The bill, as approved by the US House of Representatives, allocates nearly $61 billion in aid to Ukraine, including:

  • $49.9 billion for defense expenditures
  • $7.8 billion for potential budgetary support
  • $1.57 billion in economic assistance
  • $400 million for border security and humanitarian demining.

However, the $7.8 billion in budgetary support will be provided to Ukraine as a loan, the terms of which will be determined by a separate agreement between Kyiv and Washington. The bill allows for the possibility of forgiving Ukraine's loan, but not before the US presidential elections.

Additionally, the bill authorizes the US to use frozen Russian assets to support Ukraine and obligates the US president to transfer long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine if it does not harm US national security.

When will Ukraine receive aid from the United States

Washington promised that the bill approved by both houses of the US Congress would be signed by the US president immediately. And, as expected, a new package of military aid from the United States will be allocated to Ukraine immediately after the document is signed.

According to Politico, the new US military aid package to Ukraine will be larger than usual. It will include armored vehicles, including Bradley fighting vehicles, M113 armored personnel carriers, and old Hummers, as well as artillery shells and air defense equipment.

According to CNN, the Ukrainian army may finally receive long-range ATACMS. They are likely to be included in the first tranche of weapons to be sent to Ukraine after the US Congress' decision. Most of these weapons are already in Germany and Poland to expedite their delivery to Ukraine.

Bloomberg reported that Germany urged the United States to provide Ukraine with at least one additional Patriot air defense system.