Eighteen Senate Republicans defy their party’s majority and former President Donald J. Trump in joining with Democrats to push military aid to Ukraine under Senate approval, highlighting a widening foreign policy divide in the modern Republican Party.
18 senators, mostly national security hawks including several military veterans, cast the votes needed to overcome multiple filibusters backed by most of their colleagues, clearing the way for approval within days of $95 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel and allies in the Pacific region.
“The thread that binds that group together is national security,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, Republican of Kansas, who is one of the 18. “American national security, the belief that what happens in Ukraine is important to the United States, the belief that what What happens in Israel matters and the belief that what happens in the South Pacific matters.”
Supporting the funding could draw condemnation from Mr. Trump and his allies, a possibility that was likely a factor in the decision by some to oppose it.
Some Republicans who opposed the bill have suggested they may end up supporting the bill on final passage after trying to use their opposition to get a chance to change it — an effort that has so far been unsuccessful. But whether more than half of the 49 Republicans will vote for it remains an open question.
Here’s a closer look at past defections and what motivates them.
All but two of the Senate’s Republican leaders
The group includes two of the top Republicans in the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and John Thune of South Dakota, as well as two others on the leadership team: Senators Joni Ernst of Iowa and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.
Two other leaders, Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming and Steve Daines of Montana, who both endorsed Mr. Trump, are opposed.
The sharp division in funding within the top echelons of the Senate Republican conference reflects a stark division within the party, which for much of the post-World War II era has been a strong proponent of exercising American power abroad and sticking with US allies. But there is also growing strong sentiment among Republicans — encouraged by Mr. Trump — to pull back from foreign engagement.
Mr. McConnell has been among the most vocal advocates of sending aid to Ukraine. He has called Kiev’s war against Russian aggression an existential issue and has argued with increasing fervor in recent days that the United States must not abandon its democratic ally opposing President Vladimir V. Putin.
Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky who has led efforts to slow the military aid measure, called Monday the idea that strengthening Ukraine is critical to American national security “ridiculous.”
“I think sending money to Ukraine actually makes our national security more vulnerable,” Mr. Paul said. “The leadership has come together, but it’s the wrong kind of compromise. It’s a compromise to rob the treasury. They throw out borrowed money.”
Others who voted for the funding included Senators John Cornyn of Texas, the former top Republican interested in returning to the helm, and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the Senate’s longest-serving Republican.
National security leaders and veterans
Several members of the Armed Services Committee supported moving forward with the bill, including Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the committee’s top Republican. Other members of that committee who voted to boost military aid included Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Ms. Ernst and Senators Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma.
Ms. Ernst served overseas as an officer in the Iowa National Guard, and Mr. Sullivan is a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. A third Republican veteran who strongly supported the aid, Senator Todd Young of Indiana, is a former Marine officer.
Democrats praised the 18 Republicans who joined them in the Ukraine effort.
“I think they understand the necessity of supporting Ukraine, especially because this is a contest between the rules-based international order and Russian autocracy,” said Sen. Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “They also understand that it could soon involve our service members.”
Mainstream Republicans and Appropriators
Appropriations Committee members, including two more centrist senators — Susan Collins of Maine, the top Republican on the spending panel, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — were also instrumental in pushing for the aid. Other appropriators of the bill include Mr. Moran, Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana and Ms. Capito.
The measure has the support of several others who have been known to break with their party and support bipartisan compromises, including Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Bill Cassidy of Louisiana; and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
“I think there’s a common understanding that if we don’t succeed in this vote, if we don’t support Ukraine — this is not a joke, this is not hyperbole — bad things are going to happen,” Mr. Tillis said on Monday.
Republican backers of the bill say they cannot worry about Mr. Trump or the potential electoral fallout given the urgency behind the effort to contain Russia and avoid a wider war in Europe or Asia.
“The stakes are high and we have to live up to the moment,” Ms Collins said.
As for the potential backlash, Mr. Tillis said he’s not worried.
“I slept like a baby last night,” he said, referring to his vote Sunday to defeat a filibuster by most of his Republican colleagues.
The following is an alphabetical list of the 18 Republicans who are voted to advance the bill passed a critical procedural hurdle on Sunday:
Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
Senator Susan Collins of Maine
Senator John Cornyn of Texas
Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa
Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa
Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas
Senator Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Senator Mitt Romney of Utah
Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota
Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska
Senator John Thune of South Dakota
Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina
Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi
Senator Todd Young of Indiana