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Mike Johnson's Aid Bills: What are the US presidents' plan for Ukraine and Israel, and will it pass Congress? | Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson's Aid Bills: What are the US presidents' plan for Ukraine and Israel, and will it pass Congress?  |  Mike Johnson


U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson said long-awaited votes on aid to Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific would take place as early as Saturday, putting the top Republican on a collision course with members of his own party.

At stake is $95 billion in U.S. security aid, which has remained in limbo for months, over the strong objections of far-right Republicans. Johnson's decision to move forward with the votes also puts his own job at risk, with at least two Republicans threatening to introduce a motion to impeach him, just six months after taking office.

How did we get here?

Congress has been frozen for months in its efforts to approve military aid to Ukraine due to growing opposition from Republicans.

The voices of isolationist Republicans are growing louder, backed by former President Donald Trump, who said foreign aid should be structured as a loan, not a gift, while questioning the United States' commitment to United with its NATO allies, committed to the defense of Ukraine.

Efforts to pass legislation guaranteeing military assistance to Ukraine hit another obstacle in 2023, as some Republicans began to insist that the foreign aid bill must be tied to meeting needs at the U.S.-Mexico border, where arrests for illegal crossings have reached a record. peaks.

In February, the Senate voted to block advancement of a bill guaranteeing foreign aid, while granting new powers to close the border and speed up expulsions.

Later that month, the Senate passed a bill providing $95 billion in war aid to Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies, but contained no provisions related to the U.S. border.

Despite passing this legislation with broad bipartisan support in the Senate, Johnson still refused to bring the Senate bill to the House. Without the House voting to approve it, the bill remained stalled until this week.

How do the new bills differ from those approved by the Senate?

On Tuesday, Johnson unveiled his proposals, which involved holding votes on three separate funding plans for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific, as well as a fourth bill containing other Republican foreign policy proposals .

The package totals $95.3 billion in spending, matching the total passed by the Senate in February, but contains some differences intended to convince some House conservatives.

Aid to Ukraine would amount to about $61 billion, but more than a third of that would go toward resupplying weapons and munitions systems for the U.S. military.

The $13.8 billion awarded to Ukraine for arms purchases from the United States is about the same as the previous Senate bill.

The main difference between the two programs is that the House bill provides more than $9 billion in economic aid to Ukraine in the form of forgivable loans. The Senate bill contained no such provision requiring reimbursement.

The idea of ​​structuring the aid as a loan is a key Trump policy proposal and is supported by a number of Republicans.

Johnson says the House bill also includes requiring the Biden administration to provide Congress with a plan and strategy for what it seeks to achieve in Ukraine. The plan would be required within 45 days of signing the bill. House Republicans often complain that they have not yet found a strategy to end the war.

Aid to support Israel and provide humanitarian aid to Gaza totals more than $26 billion. Money dedicated to rebuilding Israel's missile defense systems totals about $4 billion in the House and Senate bills. Part of the money allocated to Israel will also cover the cost of US military operations in response to recent attacks.

Johnson said his Indo-Pacific agenda would include about $8 billion to counter China and provide a strong deterrent in the region. The overall amount is about the same as the Senate bill, with a quarter of the funds used to replenish the weapons and munitions systems supplied to Taiwan.

Why has Johnson chosen to bring forward aid plans now?

After Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel this weekend, the White House and top Senate Democrats and Republicans called on Johnson to approve the Senate aid package. On Sunday, he told Fox News that Republicans understand the need to stand with Israel.

At the same time, as U.S. aid to Ukraine stalls, kyiv's position on the battlefield has become perilous. Insufficient ammunition and dwindling air defense missiles have exposed the country's defenses.

In Washington, concern has grown over the deteriorating situation, and at a hearing Wednesday, Pentagon leaders said Ukraine and Israel desperately need weapons.

On Wednesday, Johnson told reporters: History judges us for what we do. We are currently living in a critical period. According to reports in the Washington Post, Johnson's opposition to aid to Ukraine has changed since he became president and began receiving more frequent intelligence briefings.

Will the aid plans be adopted?

Johnson is trying to bring together a divided Republican Party with the slimmest majority in the House. With a number of Republicans clearly determined to oppose the bills, the speaker will depend on Democratic support to pass the legislation.

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said he plans to bring Democrats together Thursday morning to discuss the package.

Our fundamental commitment is ironclad, he told reporters. We will ensure we support our democratic allies in Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific region.

The proposals have already received resounding support from Joe Biden, who said he would immediately sign the packages if Congress passes them. A number of Republicans have indicated they would support them as well.

In an effort to satisfy conservatives in his own party, Johnson said he would hold a separate vote on a border security package, but some Republicans have already denounced that plan as insufficient.

At least two Republican members of the House of Representatives have threatened to try to oust Johnson if he continues with the votes.

Far-right Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene was joined by Thomas Massie of Kentucky in calling for Johnson's resignation.

I want someone who will actually pursue a Republican agenda and who knows how to get in the room and negotiate and not get tossed around the room like some kind of party toy, Greene said. But she added that she would not budge on the motion to abandon Johnson as president before the vote on foreign aid.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report




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