Rather than holding a vote on US President Joe Biden’s proposed $106 billion for an international funding package that included about $60 billion for Ukraine, Republicans in the House of Representatives instead put forth a bill on Thursday for Israeli aid alone. The body’s new speaker, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), said that he envisions a vote on Ukraine will come “in short order”.
The measure to appropriate about $14 billion to fund Israel’s war against Hamas passed the House on Thursday evening by a vote of 226-196, with 12 Democrats joining Republicans on a mostly party-line vote. President Biden said he would veto such a bill if it passes the Senate. The legislation seems unlikely to garner approval from the Democrat-led upper house anyway.
Asked at a press conference Thursday about a House vote on aid to Kyiv, Johnson said, “Ukraine will come in short order. It will come next.”
In remarks leading up to his election as House Speaker, Johnson had frequently voiced his plan to separate funding for Kyiv from Israeli aid, and instead tie it to additional border-security appropriations, which is a much more popular measure among Republicans.
In the Senate, where Democrats essentially hold a one-seat majority, both party leaders, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have said they favored the President’s combined international package.
“The idea that supporting the fight against Russian aggression detracts from other security priorities is false,” McConnell has said.
Schumer said that the “stunningly unserious” bill that passed the House has no chance in the Senate, according to the Associated Press.
A small but increasingly influential faction of hardline Trump supporters in the House have fanatically pushed to defund aid for the counteroffensive against Russia. Many Washington insiders have explained that this is motivated by Biden’s close relationship with Ukraine, and Trump’s failed bid to blackmail Kyiv into handing over compromising information on the Biden family in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential elections.
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