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Susan Collins, Angus King continue push for Ukraine aid package amid opposition from Trump allies

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing to examine worldwide threats at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
/
FR171810 AP
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing to examine worldwide threats at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 8, 2023.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine continue to push for a $95 billion spending bill that would provide aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. The package advanced on Sunday despite efforts by Republicans and former President Donald Trump to block it.

Collins was one of 18 Republicans who voted with the Democratic majority to move the bill forward, and she pushed back against what she called "misunderstandings" and "misrepresentations" from its opponents.

Among them is an assertion that the aid package will increase U.S. troop deployments to Europe and into battle in Ukraine, which Collins says is untrue.

"The Ukrainians are the ones who are doing the fighting and taking the casualties. No American soldiers are dying on the Ukrainian battlefield," she said.

Collins added that the best way to prevent a larger war in Europe that could draw in U.S. forces is to back Ukraine and deter further aggression by Russia.

King has made a similar argument, but it's running up against opposition stirred by Trump and his loyalists in Congress.

Trump has shown admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and last week he suggested that Russia could do whatever it wants with America's NATO allies if they don't provide sufficient funding for the alliance.

The proposal, which also includes aid to Israel and humanitarian assistance to Gaza, requires additional votes in the Senate and its fate in the GOP-controlled House is uncertain.

This story was updated Monday at 4:32 p.m. to correct the number of Republican senators who voted to advance the spending bill.

Journalist Steve Mistler is Maine Public’s chief politics and government correspondent. He is based at the State House.