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House passes billions in aid to Ukraine, Israel

House passes billions in aid to Ukraine, Israel

Each of the votes Saturday had opposition from both parties, but it wasn't enough

Reporting | QiOSK

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed four separate national security supplemental bills on Saturday, clearing the way for the foreign aid package to arrive at President Joe Biden’s desk.

One bill contained roughly $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, while a second had approximately $26 billion for Israel, and another gave $8 billion for the Indo-Pacific. A final one included a series of other policy priorities like the sale of TikTok and the REPO act that would allow the U.S. to seize Russian assets. The bills will now be rolled into one and are expected to be voted on in the Senate early next week.

The Ukraine aid passed 311-112 with seven not voting and one member voting present. The Israel aid bill won 366-58 with seven not voting. The Indo-Pacific aid bill was advanced 385-34. The so-called “sidecar bill” that included the potential TikTok ban, passed 360-58.

The more controversial of course were the bills funding the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, with members of the Republican and Democratic parties, respectively, raising concerns about continuing to fund these efforts.

“‘As much as it takes, as long as it takes’ is not a mission statement, but a recipe for disaster,” said Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) on X shortly before the vote. “Bad news does not get better with time. This is a plan to expand the war.”

Johnson did not get the majority of his party to support the Ukraine aid bill. In the end, 101 Republicans voted in favor, while 112 were opposed. Democrats, whose 210 voting members supported the aid unanimously, treated the result as a major victory. One member passed out Ukrainian flags on the House floor ahead of the vote, and celebrated its passage.

“Ukraine aid passes!! Thank goodness. Hopefully this changes morale and results on the battlefield today Dark day for Putin,” said Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) on X.

“Democrats waiving Ukrainian flags on the House floor tells you everything you need to know about their priorities,” wrote Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Mo.). “Ukraine first, America last.”

If the Senate, as expected, passes the package, it will mark the first tranche of aid to make its way through Congress since December 23, 2022.

There was some bipartisan opposition on the Israel aid, with Republicans voting in favor by a margin of 193-21; Democrats supported the bill 173-37.

“We have seen how Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government has used American weapons to kill indiscriminately, to force famine. Over 25,000 women and children dead. Tens of thousands of missiles and bombs levied on innocent civilians. We cannot escape what we see before us every day,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) on the floor. “Are we going to participate in that carnage, or not? I choose not to.”

Nineteen progressives banded together in a letter to explain their vote to oppose the aid. They said Israel was violating U.S. laws that prevent the transfer of weapons to units that are violating human rights.

“This is a moment of great consequence—the world is watching," the lawmakers wrote. "Today is, in many ways, Congress' first official vote where we can weigh in on the direction of this war. If Congress votes to continue to supply offensive military aid, we make ourselves complicit in this tragedy."

Meanwhile, Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), one of the GOP opponents to the legislation, said in a statement that his support for Israel remained “unshakeable” but that the aid for Israel should have been accompanied by domestic spending cuts. The House earlier passed an Israel aid bill that included cuts to the IRS, but it stalled in the Senate.

Flags flutter as pro-Ukrainian supporters demonstrate outside the U.S. Capitol after the U.S. House of Representatives voted on legislation providing $95 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, at Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2024. REUTERS/Ken Cedeno

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