Thursday, July 25, 2024

House GOP's Aid Bills to Advance Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan – Helped by Democrats

Democrats took an unusual step Thursday, helping Republican leaders advance legislation to provide billions in defense funding to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

After a roughly nine-hour recess, the House Rules Committee reconvened Thursday night and moved GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson's foreign aid bills through on a 9-3 vote, thanks to the votes of four Democrats who sit on the committee: Ranking Member Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania Rep. Mary Kay Scanlan of Colorado Representative Joe Negus and New Mexico Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez.

The conservative Republican hardliners on the committee — Reps. Tom Massey of Kentucky, Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Chip Roy of Texas — all voted against the provision because border security is not tied to foreign aid. However, the Speaker will put what he called an “aggressive” border bill to a vote on Friday morning. It failed to make it out of the Rules Committee, but the House will consider it under suspension of the rule, which would require two-thirds support to pass.

The House is expected to take a brief procedural vote on the bill Friday morning, then a vote on final passage of the foreign aid package is scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

Three foreign aid bills would support $26.4 billion Israel$60.8 billion increase Ukraine and $8.1 billion to counter China in the Indo-Pacific, including billions Taiwan. The Israel measure also includes $9.1 billion to address Palestinian humanitarian needs, which Democrats have said is essential to their support.

A fourth bill aims to address other GOP foreign policy priorities. In particular, it would allow the sale of frozen assets of Russian oligarchs to fund future aid to Ukraine. TikTok sales and approve tougher sanctions on Russia, China and Iran.

President Biden said he would sign the package and called on the House to pass it this week and the Senate to quickly follow. Both rooms will be on vacation next week.

Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, announced the plan Monday as pressure mounts from members of both parties to hold a vote on a bipartisan Senate package that includes support for U.S. allies. The A $95 billion supplementary funding package It passed the Senate in February as Johnson debated the path forward.

Foreign aid has sown deep divisions among House Republicans — some on the far right have threatened to oust Johnson as speaker over additional funding for Ukraine, which they oppose.

Johnson defended his decision on Wednesday and said it was “critical” to provide critical aid to Ukraine.

“If I act in fear of a motion to vacate, I'll never be able to do my job,” Johnson told reporters.

“Look, history judges us for what we do,” he added, adding, “It's a critical time on the world stage. I can tell you that I could have made a selfish decision and done something different. But I'm here doing what I believe is right. .”

GOP Rep. Lauren Bobert of Colorado predicted “this could be the beginning of the end for the speaker.”

Ellis Kim, Nicole Killian, Laura Garrison and Christine Brown contributed reporting.

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