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US House to vote on Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan aid package

Messenger Desk

Published: 13:32, 20 April 2024

US House to vote on Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan aid package

Photo: Collected

The US House of Representatives is poised to hold a crucial vote on Saturday on a major aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan -- and a possible ban of TikTok. The votes on the $95 billion foreign aid and arms bills are expected to begin at 1:00 pm (1700 GMT), and embattled Republican Speaker Mike Johnson will need Democratic votes to get them passed.

The bills are the product of months of acrimonious negotiations, pressure from US allies and repeated pleas for assistance from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Spending bills cost the last Republican speaker of the House his job, and funding for Ukraine has been at the heart of the partisan squabbling.

The United States has been the chief military backer of Ukraine in its war against Russia, but Congress has not approved large-scale funding for its ally for nearly a year and a half, mainly because of the bickering across the political aisle.

President Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers in Congress have been pushing for a major new weapons package for Ukraine for months.

But Republicans, influenced by the party's presidential candidate Donald Trump, are reluctant to provide funding to Kyiv for the drawn-out conflict.

The financing of the war has become a point of contention ahead of a presidential election in November that is expected to pit Biden against Trump once again.

Johnson, after months of hesitation, finally threw his support behind a $61 billion package for Ukraine that includes economic assistance and weapons.

"To put it bluntly, I'd rather send bullets to Ukraine than American boys," Johnson said.

The bill also allows Biden to confiscate and sell Russian assets and provide the money to Ukraine to finance reconstruction, a move that has been embraced by other G7 nations.

Messenger/Disha

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