Home News House approves $95 billion aid bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

House approves $95 billion aid bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

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The House voted overwhelmingly on Saturday to provide $95 billion in foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, with Speaker Mike Johnson risking his job to drum up support from mainstream Republicans and Democrats to advance the long-stalled aid package .

In four consecutive votes, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a plan to provide a new round of funding to three U.S. allies and another bill aimed at providing convenience to conservatives that could lead to TikTok is banned nationwide.

The scene in the House reflected both broad support in Congress for continuing to help Ukrainian forces repel Russia and the huge political risk Mr. Johnson took to stand up to anti-interventionists in his party who are trying to stop military action in Ukraine. measure. Minutes before a vote on Kyiv aid, Democrats began waving small Ukrainian flags on the House floor, drawing jeers from far-right Republicans.

This legislation includes $60 billion for Kyiv; $26 billion for Israel and humanitarian aid to civilians in conflict zones, including Gaza; $8 billion for the Indo-Pacific. It would direct the president to seek repayment of $10 billion in economic aid from the Ukrainian government, a concept backed by former President Donald J. Trump, who had pushed for any aid to Kyiv to come in the form of loans. But it would also allow the president to forgive those loans starting in 2026.

It also contains a measure to help pave the way for the sale of frozen Russian sovereign assets to help fund the war in Ukraine, as well as a new round of sanctions on Iran. The Senate is expected to pass the bill as early as Tuesday and send it to President Joe Biden’s desk, ending its painful journey in Congress.

“Our adversaries are working together to undermine our Western values ​​and debase our democracy,” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said Saturday as the measure was debated on the House floor. “We cannot be afraid at this moment. We must do the right thing. Evil is on the march. History is calling, and now is the time to act.”

“History will judge us by our actions here today,” he continued. “As we consider this vote, you have to ask yourself this question: ‘Am I Chamberlain or Churchill?'”

The vote was 311 to 112 in favor of aid to Ukraine, with a majority of Republicans (112 votes) voting against and Rep. Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania voting “present.” The House approved aid to Israel 366 to 58; Taiwan voted 385 to 34, with Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., voting “present.” The bill to impose sanctions on Iran and require its Chinese owners to sell TikTok or ban the app in the United States passed 360 to 58.

Whether Congress would approve new funding for Ukraine has been uncertain for months, even as momentum shifted in Moscow’s favor.This triggered a wave of anxiety in Kyiv And in Europe think the United States, largest provider of military aid Ukraine will turn its back on this young democracy.

It also raises questions about whether the political turmoil roiling the United States has actually destroyed a strong bipartisan consensus that has long supported the promotion of American values ​​around the world.Last time Congress approved a major part of Funding to Ukraine was in 2022, before Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.

There is a widespread “America First” sentiment among party voters led by Trump, and Republicans last year staunchly opposed another aid package for Kyiv, saying it should not be considered at all unless Biden agreed to strict anti-immigration measures this matter. .When Senate Democrats agreed earlier this year legislation The aid was paired with tougher border enforcement provisions, which Trump denounced and Republicans rejected out of hand.

But after the Senate passed a $95 billion emergency aid bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan without any immigration measures, Johnson began telling allies — first privately, then loudly — that he would ensure U.S. aid to Kyiv .

Ultimately, he relied on Democrats to push the bill, bypassing the ranks of hard-line lawmakers who had once been his political home, even in the face of recall threats from ultra-conservative lawmakers. It’s a remarkable about-face for a right-wing lawmaker who repeatedly voted against aid to Ukraine as a rank-and-file and who just months ago declared he would never give up aid to Ukraine pending his decision. The matter will be allowed to go to a vote. The party’s boundary requirements were met.

In the days leading up to the vote, Johnson began to make a forceful case for Congress’s role in helping Ukraine defend itself against the dictator’s attacks. Johnson, who warned that Russian troops could move across the Baltic states and Poland if Ukraine fell, said he decided to send aid to Kiev because he would “rather shoot bullets into Ukraine than American boys.”

“History will judge us by what we do,” he told reporters at the Capitol earlier this week. “This is a critical moment. I could have made a selfish decision and done something different. But what I’m doing here is what I think is right. I think it’s critical to provide lethal aid to Ukraine right now.”

Mr. Johnson crafted the measures and submitted them to the Senate as one bill to garner support from a diverse coalition while not allowing opposition to any one element to defeat the whole thing.

“I will allow every member of the House the opportunity to vote according to their conscience and their will,” he said.

To satisfy demands from the right, Johnson allowed a vote on tough border enforcement measures before the foreign aid bill was passed, but it was blocked after failing to reach the two-thirds majority needed for passage. The speaker refused to tie the immigration bill to a foreign aid package because he knew it would effectively kill the spending plan.

His decision to move forward with the plan angered ultraconservatives at the conference, who accused Johnson of breaking his promise not to allow a vote on foreign aid without first securing sweeping policy concessions on the southern border. That prompted two Republicans, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, to join Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia in ousting Johnson from the top job.

One by one, angry Republicans took to the House floor Saturday to express their anger at the speaker.

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who led the effort to oust Johnson, on Saturday sought to advance an amendment to the aid package that would essentially eliminate funding to Ukraine, claiming the legislation supports “a bloody crisis built on and business models on top of murder, foreign wars.”

“We should be funding the manufacturing of our weapons and ammunition, not shipping them to foreign countries,” she said in defense of her proposal, which failed in a 351-71 vote.

Much of the funding for Ukraine in the aid package is earmarked for replenishing U.S. stockpiles after supplies are delivered to Kyiv.

Since the Russian invasion in 2022, Congress has appropriated $113 billion to support Ukraine’s war effort. $75 billion is allocated directly to the country for humanitarian, financial and military support, and another $38 billion in security assistance-related funds is primarily for the United States, According to data from the Institute of War Studiesa Washington-based research group.

Opposition to the legislation from the far right of the Republican Party — both in the House and on key rules panels — forced Johnson to rely on Democrats to push the legislation across the finish line.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro said: “If Ukraine does not get the support it needs to defeat Russia’s shameless attack on its sovereign territory, the legacy of this Congress will be one of appeasement of dictators, the destruction of allies, and A Divided Europe.” Connecticut Appropriations Committee Democratic Leader. “Our credibility will be gone in the eyes of our allies and adversaries alike. There will be no more America committed to defending freedom, democracy, and human rights wherever they are threatened or attacked.”

Thirty-seven liberal Democrats opposed a $26 billion aid package to Israel because the legislation placed no conditions on how Israel can use U.S. funds amid dozens of civilian casualties and looming famine in Gaza.With this in mind, opposition has been relatively muted Left-wing MPs urge their colleagues to vote ‘no’ The bill is intended to send a message to Biden that there is strong opposition within his political coalition to his support for Israel’s tactics in the war.

Rep. Jonathan L. Jackson, D-Ill., said: “Sending more weapons to the Netanyahu government will hold the United States more accountable for atrocities and the horrific humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which is currently in the midst of a famine season. “The United States Congress must be the moral compass. I continue to call for the release of all prisoners and hostages. I will continue to pray and work for peace, security and stability.”

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