News World

House Republicans finally announce vote for $61 bn in Ukraine aid

Biden says US will start sending military aid to Ukraine within hours
Source: Pixabay

The Republican leader of the US House of Representatives on Wednesday announced a weekend vote on massive new military aid including some $61 billion in long-delayed support for Ukraine, as well as billions for Israel and Taiwan.

The move could finally get much-needed help to outgunned Ukrainian forces as they battle Russian invaders.

But it also sets up a showdown with House Speaker Mike Johnson’s own far-right wing, which for months has been steered by Donald Trump into blocking aid to Kyiv.

“We expect the vote on final passage on these bills to be on Saturday evening,” Johnson announced.

Along with the $61 billion for Ukraine, the bills would allocate more than $26 billion for Israel as it wages war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip and squares up against regional foe Iran and its proxies.

That includes a key $9.2 billion in humanitarian aid for civilian-packed Gaza, which had been a key requirement for Democrats.

The package also provides $8 billion for self-ruled Taiwan, which China sees as part of its territory and has vowed to retake — by force if necessary.

For months Johnson has faced huge pressure from the White House and much of Congress to allow the lower house to vote on aid to Ukraine and Israel that was already approved in the Senate.

Johnson had refused to allow a House vote on that $95 billion package, as Republicans wrangled over President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.

Instead he is pushing this separate package — which the White House has appeared to give the cautious nod to, and the Pentagon has urged be passed “as quickly as possible,” warning it has already seen a “shift” in Ukraine’s ability to hold off Russian forces.

It remains unclear if Johnson’s aid bills would pass the House or the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The speaker’s majority is razor-thin, and he is facing a potential Republican revolt over his complex plan, with right-winger Matt Gaetz denouncing it as “abject surrender” on CNN.

Conservatives have complained over the billions in aid already spent since the fighting began in February 2022.

They also insist the immigration crisis at the US southern border must be tackled first, despite largely rejecting the February package which included some of the tightest border restrictions in years.

Without the near-total backing of his party, Johnson would be left to rely on votes from Democrats to pass the package, with some such as Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut voicing her support.

The bills “mirror the Senate-passed package” and “provide long overdue humanitarian aid,” she said, urging their swift passage.

But that would infuriate Johnson’s own party’s hard-right faction, potentially putting his job in jeopardy.

– Investing in America –

The announcement by Johnson came shortly after Biden described Ukraine and Israel as two US allies desperate for help in their conflicts.

They both “depend on American assistance, including weaponry, to do it. And this is a pivotal moment,” Biden wrote in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.

Biden called the Senate-approved version of the Ukraine and Israel aid package “strong and sensible.”

“It shouldn’t be held hostage any longer by a small group of extreme Republican House members,” he said.

Biden argued in the Journal that the aid is needed to help Ukraine, which is running out of ammunition, and Israel in the wake of last weekend’s mass Iranian drone attack.

But he said the assistance is just as important for US security.

“Mr Putin wants to subjugate the people of Ukraine and absorb their nation into a new Russian empire. The government of Iran wants to destroy Israel forever — wiping the world’s only Jewish state off the map,” Biden wrote.

“America must never accept either outcome — not only because we stand up for our friends, but because our security is on the line, too.”

Biden said the money would not be “blank checks.”

The weaponry for Ukraine would be built in US factories, he said, writing: “We’d help our friends while helping ourselves.”

He also sought to allay concerns within his own Democratic party, where growing numbers of members oppose arming Israel during its devastating war against Hamas.

Biden praised the Senate bill’s inclusion of funding to “continue delivering urgent humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza.”


About the author


Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

Daily Newsletter