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

The House of Representatives on Saturday overwhelmingly passed a resolution authorizing $95 billion in foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, after years of stalling as Speaker Mike Johnson rallied support from mainstream Republicans and Democrats. He staked his job on advancing support measures.

In a fourth straight vote, an overwhelmingly bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has eased a new round of funding for three U.S. allies and a conservative deal that could lead to a nationwide ban on TikTok. approved another bill aimed at

The scene on the House floor was a sign of widespread support in Congress for continued support for Ukrainian forces to defeat Russia, and of Mr. It reflected both extraordinary political risks. measurement. Minutes before the vote on Kiev aid, Democrats began waving small Ukrainian flags in the House chamber amid jeers from far-right Republicans.

This law includes: 60 billion dollars for Kyiv. $26 billion in humanitarian assistance to civilians in conflict zones, including Israel and Gaza. and $8 billion for the Indo-Pacific region. The order instructs the president to require the Ukrainian government to repay $10 billion in economic aid, a move that former President Donald J. supported this idea. However, the president could also forgive these loans starting in 2026.

It also includes measures to pave the way for the sale of frozen Russian state assets to finance the war in Ukraine, as well as new sanctions against Iran. The Senate is expected to pass the bill as early as Tuesday, sending it to President Biden’s desk and ending its arduous journey through Congress.

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

“History will judge us by the actions we take here today,” he continued. “As you deliberate on this vote, you must ask yourself: ‘Am I Chamberlain or am I Churchill?'”

The vote was 311-112 in favor of aid to Ukraine, with a majority of 112 Republicans voting against it and one, Pennsylvania Representative Dan Meuser, voting “yes.” The House approved aid to Israel by a vote of 366-58. Taiwan voted 385-34, with Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib voting “present.” The bill, which would impose sanctions on Iran and force TikTok to be sold by its Chinese owners or ban the app in the United States, passed with a vote of 360 to 58.

“Today, members of both parties of Congress voted to advance our national security interests and send a clear message about the power of American leadership on the world stage,” Biden said. “At this critical turning point, they came together to answer the call of history and pass the urgently needed national security legislation that I have been fighting to secure for months.”

Minutes after the vote, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy thanked MPs, singling out Johnson for their “decision that put history on the right track”.

“Democracy and freedom will always be of global importance and will never fail as long as the United States helps protect democracy and freedom,” he said on social media. “The important U.S. aid bill passed by the House today will stop the war from escalating, save thousands of lives, and help both countries emerge stronger.”

Outside the Capitol, jubilant crowds waved Ukrainian flags and chanted “Thank you, America,” while exiting lawmakers gave thumbs up and waved their own small flags.

Even as momentum shifted in Russia’s favor, it remained unclear for months whether Congress would approve new funding for Ukraine. This caused a wave of unrest in Kiev and Europe, and the United States, single largest military aid provider If we oppose Ukraine, we will turn our backs on our young democracy.

And it has raised questions about whether the political turmoil convulsing the United States has effectively destroyed the strong, long-standing bipartisan consensus that supports projecting American values ​​around the world. The last time Congress approved a large package of funds for Ukraine was in 2022, before Republicans took control of the House.

“America first” sentiment is prevalent among Trump’s party’s electorate, and Republicans said last year that the issue should not be considered unless Biden agrees to tough anti-immigrant measures. , opposed new aid measures for Kiev. . When Senate Democrats agreed to a bill earlier this year that combined that aid with provisions to strengthen border security, Trump denounced it and Republicans quickly rejected it.

But after the Senate passed its own $95 billion emergency aid bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan without any immigration measures, Mr Johnson told allies he would guarantee the US would send aid to Kiev. , I started saying it, first privately and then out loud.

In the end, he relied on Democrats to pass legislation, bypassing the hard-line caucus that was once his political stronghold, even in the face of expulsion threats from ultra-conservative lawmakers. This is a stunning reversal for a right-wing lawmaker who has repeatedly voted against aid to Ukraine as a rank-and-file member, and just a few months ago vowed to never allow a vote on the issue until a president takes office. I had just been there. The party’s border demands were met.

In the days leading up to the vote, Mr Johnson began to argue forcefully that it was Congress’s role to help Ukraine fend off authoritarian advances. Mr. Johnson warned that if Ukraine fell, Russian troops could advance through the Baltic states and Poland, and he refused to send aid to Kiev because he would “rather send bullets to Ukraine than to American boys.” He said he had decided to proceed.

“I think this is an important moment and an important opportunity to make that decision,” Johnson told reporters at Parliament House after the vote. “I think we did our job here and I think history will judge us correctly.”

Rather than allowing opposition to one element to defeat the whole, Mr. Johnson put together measures to garner a diverse coalition of supporters and presented them as a single bill to the House of Lords.

“I’m going to give every member of Congress the opportunity to vote their conscience and their will,” he said.

In response to demands from the right, Mr Johnson gave the go-ahead for a vote on a foreign aid bill that would include tougher border security measures, but the bill failed, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage. And he refused to tie the immigration bill to a foreign aid package, knowing that would effectively nullify the spending plan.

Mr Johnson’s decision to move forward with the policy infuriated the ultra-conservatives in the conference, breaking his promise not to allow a vote on foreign aid without first securing sweeping policy concessions on the southern border. accused of doing so. Two Republicans, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, responded by calling for Mr. Johnson to be ousted from the top job by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. encouraged them to participate.

Greene claimed that the Ukraine aid bill supports “a business model built on blood, murder, and war abroad.”

“We should provide funds to strengthen arms and ammunition, not to send them abroad,” she said, adding that the proposal to zero out funding for Kiev was voted 351 to 71. He spoke before it was rejected.

Much of the money to Ukraine will go toward replenishing U.S. stockpiles after shipping supplies to Kiev.

Since the 2022 Russian invasion, Congress has appropriated $113 billion to support Ukraine’s war effort. According to the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based research group, $75 billion is allocated directly to countries for humanitarian, financial and military assistance, with another $38 billion primarily in security assistance-related funds. It is said to have been used in the United States.

Opposition from far-right Republicans, who oppose the bill both on the House floor and in a key rules committee, has forced Johnson to rely on Democrats to push the bill across the finish line.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said, “If Ukraine does not receive the support it needs to defeat Russia’s egregious attacks on its sovereign territory, the legacy of this Congress will be the appeasement of dictators, the destruction of allies, and a divided Europe.” It will happen,” he said. Representative from Connecticut, top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee. “Our credibility will be eroded in the eyes of our allies and adversaries, and we will continue to pledge to stand up for them even when freedom, democracy, and human rights are threatened or attacked.” America will be gone.”

Amid high civilian casualties and impending famine in the Gaza Strip, 37 liberal Democrats voted against Israel because the bill placed no conditions on how Israel could use U.S. funds. opposed the $26 billion aid package. This marked a notable decline in long-standing ironclad bipartisan support for Israel in Congress, given that left-wing lawmakers had called for heavy “no votes” on the bill to send a message to Biden. However, the opposition remained a relatively small force. about the depth of opposition within his political coalition to supporting Israeli tactics in the war;

“Sending more weapons to the Netanyahu regime will further increase the United States’ responsibility for the atrocities and horrific humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which is currently in famine season,” said Representative Jonathan L. Jackson, D-Ill. Probably.”

Karl Hulse, Annie Carniand guo keira contributed reporting from Washington; mark santora From Kyiv.

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