US House Passes $95 Billion Ukraine, Israel Aid Package

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The US House of Representatives on Saturday with broad bipartisan support passed a $95 billion package providing security assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, over bitter objections from Republican hardliners.

Report says the legislation now proceeds to the Democratic-majority Senate, which passed a similar measure more than two months ago.

Meanwhile, US leaders from Democratic President Joe Biden to top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell had been urging embattled Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring it up for a vote.

Preliminary votes
The Senate is set to begin considering the House-passed bill on Tuesday, with some preliminary votes that afternoon. Final passage was expected sometime next week, which would clear the way for Biden to sign it into law.

The bills provide $60.84 billion to address the conflict in Ukraine, including $23 billion to replenish U.S. weapons, stocks, and facilities; $26 billion for Israel, including $9.1 billion for humanitarian needs, and $8.12 billion for the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan.

Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy expressed his thanks, saying US lawmakers moved to keep “history on the right track.”

“The vital U.S. aid bill passed today by the House will keep the war from expanding, save thousands and thousands of lives, and help both of our nations to become stronger,” Zelenskiy said on X.

Assistance package
The Biden administration is already finalizing its next assistance package for Ukraine so it can announce the new tranche of aid soon after the bill becomes law in order to meet Ukraine’s urgent battlefield needs, a White House official said.

It was unclear how quickly the new military funding for Ukraine will be depleted, likely causing calls for further action by Congress.

Biden, who had urged Congress since last year to approve the additional aid to Ukraine, said in a statement: “It comes at a moment of grave urgency, with Israel facing unprecedented attacks from Iran and Ukraine under continued bombardment from Russia.”

The vote on passage of the Ukraine funding was 311112. Significantly, 112 Republicans opposed the legislation, with only 101 in support.

“Mike Johnson is a lame duck he’s done,” far-right Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene told reporters afterward.

During the vote, several lawmakers waved small Ukrainian flags as it became clear that element of the package was headed to passage. Johnson warned lawmakers that was a “violation of decorum.”

Meanwhile, the House’s actions during a rare session put on display some cracks in what generally is solid support for Israel within Congress.

Recent months have seen progressive Democrats express anger with Israel’s government and its conduct of the war in Gaza.

Saturday’s vote, in which the Israel aid was passed 366-58, had 37 Democrats and 21 Republicans in opposition.

Report says the passage of the long-awaited legislation was closely watched by US defense contractors, who could be in line for huge contracts to supply equipment for Ukraine and other US partners.

 

 

 

 

REUTERS/Christopher Ojilere

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