House Democrats rescue GOP’s foreign aid bill in ‘unprecedented’ vote - Axios

The U.S. Congress
The U.S. Congress

House Democrats took an “unprecedented” step to secure GOP Speaker Mike Johnson’s foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, the American news website Axios reported on April 19.

The four Democrats on the House Rules Committee joined five Republicans to bring the so-called four-bill package to the House floor for a vote.

This extremely rare break with modern political norms was necessary after three right-wing hardliners objected to bringing it up for a vote. Their rebellion was enough to kill the package.

The committee is usually made up of members loyal to the party leadership who vote along party lines. But last year, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy appointed Reps. Thomas Massie, Ralph Norman, and Chip Roy to the panel last year to appease rebel factions within the party. The move inadvertently “put power in the hands of Democrats,” who largely support the Ukraine aid package.

“This kind of party crossover on the panel has not happened “in the time that I’ve been here,” said Rep. Dan Kildee, who has served in Congress for more than a decade.

“I think it’s highly unusual ... I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that happen,” said another Rep. Joe Morelle, a former member of the panel.

Blocking the Ukraine funding bill in the U.S.

Republicans have been blocking the Ukraine aid bill since October 2023, initially citing the need to bolster U.S. immigration policy.

The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Feb. 13 providing $95 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, with $60 billion allocated to Ukraine.

House Speaker Mike Johnson criticized the Senate proposal and refused to submit it for consideration.

He said he would bring the aid extension to a vote “in a timely manner,” noting the urgent need for aid to Ukraine after a meeting with President Joe Biden on Feb. 28.

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Biden emphasized the “urgent need” to assist Ukraine during the meeting with congressional leaders from both parties.

Speakers of 23 parliaments and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola appealed to Johnson on Feb. 28 to consider the bill.

The next day, he announced that the House of Representatives would not take up the issue of providing aid to Ukraine until the U.S. government receives funding.

Johnson advised Republicans to prepare a proposal to at least partially convert military aid for Ukraine into a loan, Politico reported on March 19,

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $1.2 trillion funding package for government agencies on March 22, while the Senate passed the same package on March 23, leading President Biden to sign it and call on the House to pass a bill supporting Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

The Ukraine aid bill would be brought to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives immediately after the Easter recess, which lasts in the States until April 9, Republican Congressman Don Bacon said on March 31.

Johnson announced on April 1 that the Ukraine Aid bill would include significant new provisions, such as providing aid as loans, instead of grants.

Johnson introduced four separate bills regarding funding for U.S. aid to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and other national security priorities on April 15.

The House of Representatives website published the text of a bill on military aid for Ukraine on April 17, including $60 billion and ATACMS missiles.

Johnson announced on the same day that he would bring the bill on funding for Ukraine to a vote on April 20.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine