US Senate quickly advances $95 billion global war package

President Joe Biden with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York and Sen. Bernie Sanders, April 22, 2024. [AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta]

On Tuesday, the US Senate quickly advanced a $95 billion supplemental military package aimed at continuing the US-backed wars in Gaza and Ukraine and preparing for a future war with China.

In an 80-19 vote Tuesday afternoon, the Senate invoked cloture, which ends debate on a bill and blocks any filibustering. After the cloture vote, the Senate moved quickly to pass the bill in a 79-18 vote. It is expected that President Joe Biden will sign the bill on Wednesday.

House Resolution 815 (H.R. 815) is virtually identical to the National Security Supplemental advanced by the White House last October. For over six months, Biden has demanded the passage of the legislation, the bulk of which, $60.8 billion, is earmarked for continuing the US-NATO war against Russia in Ukraine.

This past weekend, every single Democrat present, including “progressives” such as Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, Missouri Rep. Cori Bush and Democratic Socialists of America member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, voted in favor of the Ukrainian weapons package.

H.R. 815 includes $26.4 billion for the Zionist regime in Israel. Of this figure, nearly $9 billion is earmarked for bombs, artillery and other lethal weapons not produced in Israel, with another $4 billion for the Iron Dome and David’s Sling anti-missile systems.

Ocasio-Cortez and a handful of other Democrats voted against the Israel portion of the bill, but this opposition was purely for show. On Monday, Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Bernie Sanders and other “progressives” campaigned and smiled alongside “Genocide Joe.”

The bill also provides $8 billion towards building up the military capacity of the US and its allies in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean. Not a single Democrat voted against the Taiwan weapons package. Rep. Tlaib voted “present.”

The war bill had been stalled in the House of Representatives for months over objections from far-right Republicans that it did not include draconian anti-immigrant provisions.

Underscoring that there is no issue more important to the Democratic Party than the expansion of global war, Biden and the Democrats earlier this year sought to secure Republican support by acquiescing to Republican demands for stepped-up attacks on migrants, adding over $20 billion to the proposed bill to build more detention facilities and hire more border agents.

After the Senate passed the supplemental military bill, now costing over $120 billion and including new executive authority allowing the president to shut down ports of entry, Biden held a press conference at the Border Patrol station in Brownsville, Texas, in which he pleaded with the likely Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to “join me” in attacking immigrants and waging global war.

Trump rejected Biden’s offer, but he did not come out against Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson’s efforts to move forward on separate bills that provided all the additional military funding for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan requested by Biden, minus the tacked on border provisions.

After receiving assurances from Democrats that they would bail Johnson out should far-right Republicans move to depose him over the military funding bill, Johnson split the supplemental into three separate bills focused on Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, respectively.

Johnson also introduced a fourth bill that targets Russia and Iran for economic sanctions. The bill also requires the China-based company ByteDance LLC. to divest from TikTok within 270 days or be banned from the United States. The “21st Century Peace Through Strength Act” is written so broadly that other technology applications not owned by US companies could also be targeted.

Following the bills’ passage in the House over the weekend, the Senate quickly took up the legislation. In back-to-back warmongering speeches from the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Democrat-New York) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky) called on senators to support the war bills.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer leads the crowd in chants of "Stand with Israel" at the National Mall in Washington DC, November 14, 2023. [Photo: Jewish Federation of Greater Washington]

“The House of Representatives at long last approved essential national security funding for Ukraine, for Israel, for the Indo-Pacific,” Schumer said, adding that it was now “the Senate’s turn to act.”

In his remarks, Senator McConnell bragged that he had pushed “consecutive administrations to equip Ukraine with lethal weapons” and will “continue fighting for sustained investments in our military and defense industrial base.”

Braying for World War III, McConnell declared, “The holiday from history is over,” adding that passage of the bill by the House demonstrated the “currency of hard power.”

“This supplemental contains critical investment aimed at expanding production and capacity of critical munitions and weapons systems needed in the Indo-Pacific,” he declared.

“Today’s action is overdue,” McConnell concluded. “But our work does not end here ... expanding and restocking the arsenal of democracy does not just happen by magic.”

Speaking from the Senate floor, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders once again blamed the Israeli genocide in Gaza on Hamas, denouncing its “horrific attack on Israel” on October 7, 2023.

“As I have said many times,” Sanders declared, “Israel has, and had, the absolute right to defend itself against this terrorist attack.

“I support [Israel’s] Iron Dome,” he said, claiming that it was a “defensive” weapons system.

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Sanders went on to offer amendments to fund UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) and block the transfer of some $8.9 billion worth of what he called “offensive” weaponry to Israel. Both of the amendments failed, and the cloture vote was held shortly thereafter.

Following the cloture vote, a triumphant Senator Schumer declared, “Today, the Senate sends a unified message to the entire world. America will always defend democracy in its hour of need.

“To our friends in Ukraine, to our allies in NATO, to our allies in Israel ... help is on the way,” he said, adding, “America will deliver ammo and air defenses to our friends in Israel. America will soon deliver aid to fight the scourge of Hamas and stand up to Iran.”

On Tuesday, CNN reported that the first weapons package to Ukraine will be delivered within “weeks” and is expected to be worth “around $1 billion.” Several media outlets have confirmed the first major tranche will include Bradley Fighting Vehicles, M113 armored personnel carriers and ATACMS, or Army Tactical Missile Systems, which have a range of 190 miles.

An Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, missile is fired during a joint military drill between US and South Korea at an undisclosed location in South Korea on Wednesday, October 5, 2022. [AP Photo]

On Saturday, the same day the House voted to advance the war package, Politico reported that the Pentagon is considering sending “as many as 60 military advisers to [Kiev] to facilitate the incoming weapons transfers.”