U.S. House lawmakers vote to send more aid to Ukraine, ahead of vote on Israel aid package

The U.S. House of Representatives is pushing swiftly through a series of votes in a rare Saturday session to approve $95 billion in foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies, with Democrats and Republicans joining together after a gruelling months-long fight over renewed American support for repelling Russia’s invasion.

With overwhelming support, the House approved the Ukraine portion, a $61-billion US aid package, in a strong showing of American backing as lawmakers race to deliver a fresh round of U.S. support to the war-torn ally. Some lawmakers cheered, waving blue-and-yellow flags of Ukraine.

Each segment of the aid package is facing an up-or-down vote. The first, a national security bill that includes a provision forcing sale of the popular platform TikTok, along with other priorities, was quickly approved. The next, supporting Indo-Pacific allies, also passed.

The unusual process is allowing unique coalitions to form around the bills, pushing them forward. If successful, the whole package will go to the Senate, where passage in the coming days is nearly assured. U.S. President Joe Biden has promised to sign it immediately.

Republican hardliners oppose Ukraine aid

Some hardline Republicans have voiced strong opposition to further Ukraine aid, with some arguing the U.S. can ill afford it given its rising $34-trillion national debt.

They have repeatedly raised the threat of ousting House Speaker Mike Johnson, who was chosen for the post in October after his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, was ousted by party hardliners.

Activists supporting Ukraine demonstrate outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Activists supporting Ukraine demonstrate outside the U.S. Capitol on Saturday. (J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

Rep. Bob Good, chair of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, told reporters on Friday that the bills represent a “slide down into the abyss of greater fiscal crisis and America-last policies that reflect Biden and [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer and [House Minority Leader Hakeem] Jeffries, and don’t reflect the American people.”

But Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, who carries huge influence in the party, on April 12 voiced support for Johnson and in a Thursday social media post said Ukraine’s survival is important for the U.S.

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

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