US house passes $95 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel & Taiwan | World News - Hindustan Times
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US house passes $95 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel & Taiwan

Bloomberg |
Apr 21, 2024 01:10 AM IST

The Ukraine aid will be combined with funding for Israel and Taiwan, for a foreign assistance package totaling $95 billion.

The US House passed $61 billion in fresh aid for Ukraine on Saturday, ending a six-month political impasse during which Kyiv’s stockpiles dwindled in its war against Russia.

The vote marks a victory for Republican defense hawks against the more isolationist wing of the party led by Donald Trump. (AFP)
The vote marks a victory for Republican defense hawks against the more isolationist wing of the party led by Donald Trump. (AFP)

The Ukraine aid will be combined with funding for Israel and Taiwan, for a foreign assistance package totaling $95 billion.

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Speaker Mike Johnson worked with Democrats and overcame fierce objections from within his own party to funding Ukraine, ultimately pushing that legislation to passage on a 311 to 112 bipartisan vote.

The Senate is expected to pass the package, which was negotiated with the White House, next week.

The vote marks a victory for Republican defense hawks against the more isolationist wing of the party led by Donald Trump.

“We cannot be afraid of our shadows. We must be strong. We have to do what’s right,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, said.

Democrats and some Republicans waved Ukrainian flags during the vote, a rare moment of bipartisanship in a bitterly and narrowly divided House.

“Traditional House Republicans led by Speaker Mike Johnson have risen to the occasion,” House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said. “We have a responsibility to push back against authoritarianism.”

Taiwan

The House earlier Saturday passed an $8 billion aid package aimed at averting Chinese aggression against Taiwan. The chamber also passed a bill that would force Chinese-controlled ByteDance Ltd to divest itself from the popular social media app TikTok or face a US ban. That bill also allows the confiscation of Russian dollar assets to help fund assistance to Ukraine.

The Senate aims to begin voting Tuesday on the combined package.

The $61 billion Ukraine bill has $13 billion to replenish US stockpiles for weapons already given to Ukraine and $14 billion for US defense systems for Ukraine. It also has $7 billion for US military operations in the region.

The bill’s $9.5 billion in economic assistance to Ukraine comes in the form of a loan that the president can fully forgive after the next election. The loan idea was first floated by Trump, the GOP’s presumptive nominee.

The Taiwan aid bill includes $2 billion in foreign military financing for Taiwan and $1.9 billion to replenish US weapons stocks to cover items and services provided for Taiwan. It also has $3.3 billion to develop submarine infrastructure.

The Israel aid bill, which passed on a 366 to 58 vote, includes $4 billion for Israel’s missile defenses in the wake of last weekend’s drone and missile attacks by Iran. It provides $9 billion in global humanitarian aid including for use in Gaza at Democrats’ insistence.

Risky Move

Johnson ignored demands from ultra-conservatives to attach Republican-only US border legislation, which would have sunk its chances in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

He also relied on Democrats to clear procedural hurdles for the legislation, breaking from decades of tradition and putting his speakership at risk.

Three ultraconservative lawmakers — Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Paul Gosar of Arizona — say they are prepared to vote to oust him from his job.

“Nothing is done to secure our border or reduce our debt,” Greene said on Saturday. “Ukraine is not even a member of NATO.”

Massie on Saturday said he hoped the mounting Republican opposition would ultimately force Johnson to resign.

“But if it comes to it, a vote will be called,” to remove Johnson, he said.

To strip Johnson of his speakership, these rebels would need the cooperation of Democrats, many of whom have said they’d protect the Louisiana Republican after he struck the foreign aid deal.

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