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Senate advances House-passed foreign aid package toward final passage

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The Senate advanced a House-passed foreign aid package for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan by a 80-19 vote Tuesday afternoon — putting an effort that’s been stalled for months on the precipice of passage.

The question now is how long it takes to get to the final vote. Senators were originally slated to be on recess this week, and there’s little desire for a long stay in Washington.

Senators are preparing for a late night, with opponents of the bill signaling they may speak for hours to delay passage. The legislation may pass in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, but Senate leaders are resolved to grind through conservative resistance.

And conservatives’ options are “somewhat limited,” as Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) put it, given that each senator only gets up to an hour of time to speak.

“The forces that be that control [the] calendar on this want this to happen quickly,” Schmitt said.

Final passage of the bill is largely a foregone conclusion, with the overwhelming majority of Senate Democrats in support, and a smaller but reliable contingent of Senate Republicans also backing the deal. What’s more, support for foreign aid grew in the procedural vote: A number of Senate Republicans who’d opposed passage of a previous foreign aid bill in the Senate earlier this year flipped to vote in favor of advancing the bill on Tuesday.

The Senate previously passed its own version of aid for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan aid, but that bill stalled in the House. Speaker Mike Johnson later took a different approach by chipping the different buckets of aid apart and putting each to an individual vote on the floor. The bills were regrouped into one package before getting kicked to the Senate.

Summing up the mood, Sen. Ben Cardin’s (D-Md.) forecast for final passage was “early today, late tonight or late tomorrow night — those would be my three guesses.”

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.