In October 2023, the White House submitted a request to Congress for a new supplemental aid package. The proposed legislation included assistance to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, as well as US border security.

For nearly four months, members of Congress debated the foreign aid bill. But before it could pass, several Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate argued that additional assistance could not be sent to America’s allies and partners without addressing national security matters within the United States. Republicans and Democrats then wrote and rewrote the legislation addressing these issues. But ultimately, a deal on border security fell through.

The Senate then took matters into its own hands and voted on a stand-alone aid package that would address foreign aid to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan without border security reforms. The bill had strong bipartisan support, and it passed. The legislation now sits with the House. If passed, the United States would send this assistance to its allies and partners overseas.

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But several House Republicans, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, continue to stall. This group of representatives has stated they will not be pressed to pass the foreign aid package and they believe there is “no rush” to pass this legislation. While Speaker Johnson and a set of House Republicans continue to play party politics over the foreign aid package, thousands have died in Ukraine and the Middle East. In other words, inaction has cost many lives.

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Now, some House members have had enough. According to recent reports, House Democrats are preparing to introduce a motion so that aid to these American allies and partners can be delivered. What would this entail?

Known as a discharge petition, the process allows the House to vote on a piece of legislation without it needing to be considered and cleared by various congressional committees. As such, it would also bypass the Speaker of the House, meaning the bill can be presented to the floor for a vote. Currently, there are 435 members in the House of Representatives. For a discharge petition to be successful, 218 members – a simple majority – or more must sign the petition.

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According to the House of Representatives website, as of Feb. 29, there are 219 Republican members of the House and 213 Democratic members of the House. There are three vacancies. In this case, to reach 218 votes, all 213 Democrats would need to vote in favor of the discharge petition. The Democrats would then need five Republicans to sign the motion to pass.

Several authorities believe the votes are there. The news broke on Feb. 22 when New Jersey Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. stated that the “votes are there” for the discharge to pass. American news magazine Newsweek also recently reported that the “votes are there” for the discharge to succeed.

Now, after nearly five months of waiting, it appears a House vote on foreign aid may become a reality. According to Axios, Pennsylvania Representative Brian Fitzpatrick is “preparing an effort” to push the motion through. He, in addition to a few other Republicans, is ready to break from Speaker Johnson to ensure that Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan get the aid they need. In other words, there appear to be enough members willing to sign the motion so that the bill can be brought to the floor.

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On the surface, this is a good sign for America’s allies and partners overseas. But there is a catch. While there may be enough Republicans and Democrats ready to sign the motion, the process requires time. According to Axios, the House would require 30 days to be in session before it can be forced to the floor. Should there continue to be delays in this supplemental aid package, then this suggests that the earliest the House could vote on this bill would be in late March.

In short, a motion to force through the new supplemental aid package is underway. If successful, America’s allies and partners will finally receive the critical aid they need to defend themselves. But the bad news is that the process will still take additional time – at least five months before the new legislation is passed.

Now is the time to pressure the House to finally pass this bill. Thousands have already died since this bill was first introduced in October 2023. How many more individuals need to die before it is finally passed on the House floor?

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Mark Temnycky is an accredited freelance journalist covering Eurasian affairs and a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. He can be found on X @MTemnycky

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