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News Alert: House Approves $95 Billion Aid Package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

Pro-Ukrainian supporters demonstrate outside the Capitol.
Reuters
By Yuval Rosenberg
Saturday, April 20, 2024

House Approves Aid to Ukraine, Israel in Strongly Bipartisan Votes

In rare Saturday action, the House overwhelmingly passed a $95 billion series of foreign aid bills this afternoon, delivering fresh funding for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan after months of delays and Republican infighting spurred by far-right hardliners opposed to further assistance for Kyiv.

The bills all passed with strong bipartisan support, though most Republicans voted against the measure providing $61 billion for Ukraine, highlighting the risk House Speaker Mike Johnson took in advancing the legislation that he had stalled for months. That bill passed by a margin of 311-112, carried by 210 Democrats and 101 Republicans. Democrats, many of whom were waving small Ukrainian flags on the House floor, cheered loudly as the final tally became official.

The legislation providing more than $26 billion for Israel passed by an even larger margin, 366-58, with 37 Democrats and 21 Republicans voting against it.

And the bill to provide $8.1 billion for Taiwan and other allies in the Indo-Pacific passed 385-34, with the no votes all coming from Republicans.

A fourth bill containing a number of GOP foreign policy priorities, including a potential TikTok ban, was cleared in a 360-58 vote. That legislation also included a measure that would enable the sale of seized Russian assets to benefit Ukraine as well as new sanctions on Iran.

A separate bill including Republican border measures failed to win the two-thirds majority it needed, going down in 215-199 vote.

Before the aid votes, Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told his colleagues that the world was watching and history would judge their actions today. "We must be strong," he said. "We have to do what’s right. Evil is on the march. History is calling and now is the time to act."

McCaul praised Johnson, saying the speaker was putting himself on the right side of history. President Joe Biden also thanked the speaker and other lawmakers backing the bills, saying they had "voted to put our national security first."

But Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia said Johnson had sold out the country and made clear she is not backing off her push to oust the speaker, even as she held off for the moment on forcing a vote on removing him. Greene told reporters she would let her colleagues go home for their recess this week to hear from their constituents after these votes. "He’s already a lame duck," Greene said of Johnson. "If we had a vote today in our conference, he would not be the speaker today."

Johnson defended his strategy, telling reporters that it is better to send bullets overseas rather than troops and that history would remember today’s votes well. He again downplayed the ouster threat. "As I’ve said many times, I don’t walk around this building worrying about a motion to vacate," he said. "You do the right thing and let the chips fall where they may."

What’s next: House lawmakers are now away until April 29, but the four bills passed today will be packaged together and sent to the Senate, where they are expected to be passed as soon as Tuesday.


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