House plans to vote on foreign aid bill for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan

The House moved on Saturday to pass a $95 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, with Speaker Mike Johnson pushing the long-stalled bill over the objections of hardliners in his own party. He risked his job.

Lawmakers are scheduled to vote separately on Saturday afternoon on separate bills that include aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, as well as measures that could result in a nationwide ban on TikTok and new sanctions on Iran. The fourth bill was aimed at making the deal easier for conservatives.

Mr Johnson framed the measures to be combined into one after each version was approved, in order to garner a diverse coalition of supporters without opposition to any one element smothering the whole deal. All aid bills for the three countries are expected to pass with overwhelming majorities, and the Senate is expected to quickly take up the bills and send them to President Biden’s desk, ending the difficult path to passage. There is.

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 directs the president to ask the Ukrainian government to repay $10 billion in economic aid, a move echoed by former President Donald J. Trump, who had called for all aid to Ukraine to come in the form of loans. I support the terms. However, the bill would also allow the president to forgive these loans starting in 2026.

The scenes, which are expected to unfold in the House of Commons on Saturday, highlight broad bipartisan support in Congress for continued support for Ukrainian forces to repel Russian forces, and the extraordinary measures Mr. Johnson has taken to resist the rebels. This will likely reflect both political and political risks. The interventionist wing of his party has been blocking the measure for months. After all, the speaker himself is an ultra-conservative who had previously voted against funding the war in Ukraine, but he relied on Democrats to bypass the right wing and pass the bill.

It was unclear for months whether Congress would approve new funding for Ukraine, even as the momentum in the Ukraine war shifted in Russia’s favor. Republicans opposed new aid to Kiev unless President Biden agreed to tough anti-immigrant measures, refusing to pass legislation that would combine that aid with tougher border enforcement.

But after the Senate passed its own $95 billion emergency aid bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, Mr. Johnson vowed, first privately and then loudly, that the United States would “do our job” and provide aid to Kiev. He began to declare that he would guarantee that he would send the goods, and he consistently maintained that he would. His oath was kept even in the face of threats of expulsion from the right.

Mr. Johnson warned that if Ukraine collapsed, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin could send troops to the Balkans and Poland, saying he would “rather send bullets to Ukraine than to American boys.” He said he had decided to proceed with aid to Kiev for several reasons. ”

“My son will be attending the Naval Academy this fall,” Johnson told reporters at the Capitol earlier this week. “This is a live-fire exercise for me, as it is for many American families. This is not a game. It’s not a joke. You can’t play politics with this. We have to do the right thing. , we are going to give every member of Congress the opportunity to vote their conscience and will.”

The decision infuriated ultra-conservative Republicans, who accused Mr. Johnson of reneging on his promise not to move forward with foreign aid without first securing sweeping policy concessions on the southern border. On Friday, a third Republican, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, voiced support for expelling Johnson as speaker of the House over the move.

“I’m concerned that the Speaker has cut deals with Democrats to fund foreign wars rather than secure our borders,” Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massey said Friday. he said Friday, opposing procedural steps to propose the package. Approval required Democratic votes.

Mr Massey has been one of the most vocal opponents of the Foreign Aid Act and was part of the movement to oust Mr Johnson over it.

Republican opposition to the bill both on the House floor and in a key rules committee forced Johnson to rely on Democrats to bring the bill to the floor for a vote, with Democrats taking a key test vote on Friday.

“Democrats are the adults in the room again,” said Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, the top Democrat. “I’m so happy that Republicans are finally recognizing the gravity of the situation and the urgency with which we need to act.” ” he said. Rules Committee. “But here, you don’t get an award for doing your job.”

One of the bills to be considered on Saturday would help pave the way for the sale of frozen Russian state assets to finance the war in Ukraine. U.S. allies, including France and Germany, are skeptical about whether such a step would be enforceable under international law and would instead transfer interest earned from some $300 billion in frozen Russian assets to Ukraine. We ask that you give it directly to us. as a form of loan or as collateral for borrowing money.

The bill would also impose sanctions on Iranian and Russian officials and further restrict exports of U.S. technology used to build Iranian drones.

Lawmakers are also expected to vote on a series of amendments, including Republican-sponsored legislation that would eliminate or limit funding to Ukraine. These efforts are likely to fail.

Alan Rapeport Contributed to the report.

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