Conservatives Fume with $61 Billion Ukraine Aid Package: House Speaker Under Fire

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  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 04/20/2024
Along with steps like making China sell its shares in TikTok, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would give money to American allies in the Indo-Pacific, Ukraine, and Israel.

Meanwhile, conservatives are becoming more unhappy with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) over the package, especially the billions of dollars that are going to Ukraine and the fact that there are not any security measures at the borders.

The House voted 311–112 in favor of the $61 billion aid plan for Ukraine. A 385–34 vote passed the bill that protects the Indo-Pacific and Taiwan. 366–58 voted in favor of another bill that would give money to Israel. This bill, which banned TikTok and let Russian assets be taken, was approved by a vote of 360 to 58.

Democratic members of the House cheered and waved Ukrainian flags while shouting "Ukraine, Ukraine." Mr. Johnson then scolded them for breaking House rules about proper behavior.

Following its approval by the House, the bill will now proceed to the Senate as a whole, where it is anticipated to be easily approved.

Senators should quickly send the package to President Joe Biden's desk because he supports it.

Presidential Biden said that members of both parties "answered history's call" by passing "urgently needed national security legislation that I have fought for months to secure."

Before approving the four-part foreign aid and global security plan, the House stopped a bill that would have made the southern border safer during a truly unprecedented crisis.

Thursday, Republicans blocked the deal in the Senate, but Democrats stepped in and helped move it forward on Friday, passing it 316–94. In these so-called "rules votes," parties usually agree, but Republicans are using them more and more to protest against leadership. In the vote against the rule, 55 Republicans were present.

Each bill needed help from Democrats to pass again. They will be put together into one package before being sent to the Senate.

Mr. Johnson said after the vote on Friday that the bill was not "perfect legislation," but it was the "best possible product" that Republicans could get with their small House majority.

Representative Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.), who spoke out against the rule yesterday, said it was wrong for the US to be protecting the borders of other countries while the situation at the southern border with Mexico was still going on.

"We are sending $300 million to bolster Ukraine's border guards, but we are not going to spend that much on protecting our own border," Ms. Hageman said.

"A parade of horribles that is absolutely a terrible bill for terrible policy spending money that we do not have," she said!

Mr. Johnson should have brought a clean Israel bill to the floor and added a "Remain in Mexico" policy requirement to Ukraine legislation, according to Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.).

"Instead, we have something that will make things harder going forward and worsen the split in the Republican conference," Mr. Ogles said.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) has spoken out in support of the bill, saying that "pro-Putin MAGA extremists like Marjorie Taylor Greene" are to blame for "putting the American people's national security interests on hold."

Jeffries said, "It is long past time we support our democratic allies in Israel, Ukraine, and the Indo-Pacific." He praised his party for "clearing the way" for the rule to pass, which makes it almost certain that the final bill will be passed later today.

Russia has been attacking Ukraine since February 2022, and this bill would give the country $60.84 billion. The bill includes $23.2 billion to update Ukrainian defense goods and services, as well as $13.8 billion to help Kyiv buy U.S. arms and military goods and services.

The Israel bill would give the Jewish state $26.3 billion and is currently at war with the terrorist group Hamas. Hamas's most recent attack on the Mideast country happened on October 7, 2023, and killed more Jews in one day than any other attack since the Holocaust. It would include $4 billion for system defenses against missiles, like the Iron Dome, David's Sling, and the Iron Beam.

This bill is going to be voted on just a few days after it was said that Israel attacked Iran in response, damaging nuclear facilities and military bases directly nearby. In response to Israel's alleged bombing of a foreign building in Syria, Iran had earlier attacked Israel, but most of its missiles were shot down by Israel, the US, and related countries.

The Indo-Pacific bill would send $3.9 billion in direct military help to Taiwan and other partners in the area. This happens as China's government becomes more aggressive in the area.

Another bill, an updated version of one that the House passed easily last month, includes many measures, including one that would ban TikTok unless its parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, sells the app out of concern for national security. For example, ByteDance is connected to the Chinese communism Party, and the company's leaders have said they will make goods that support the communism ideals of the government.

Another benefit is that it would let Russian funds that have been frozen move toward Ukraine.


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