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Biden endorses House aid package for Israel, Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he strongly supports a proposal from the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives. Mike Johnson to provide aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, sending crucial bipartisan support to the shaky effort to approve $95 billion in funding for U.S. allies this week.

Ahead of a possible weekend vote, Johnson faced a choice between potentially losing his job and helping Ukraine. He informed lawmakers earlier Wednesday that he would move forward despite growing anger from his right flank. Shortly after Johnson released the aid proposals, the Democratic president offered his emphatic support for the aid plan.

“The House is expected to pass the package this week, and the Senate should quickly follow,” Biden said. “I will immediately sign this law to send a message to the world: we stand with our friends and we will not let Iran or Russia succeed. »

After agonizing for days about how to proceed On the package, Johnson pushed forward a plan to hold votes on three funding plans – to provide about $61 billion to Ukraine, $26 billion to Israel and $8 billion to US allies. ‘Indo-Pacific – as well as several other foreign policy proposals in a fourth bill. The plan roughly corresponds to the amounts that the The Senate has already approved.

Most of the money for Ukraine would go toward purchasing weapons and ammunition from U.S. defense manufacturers. Johnson also proposes that $9 billion in economic aid to kyiv be structured as forgivable loans, as well as greater oversight of military aid, but the decision to support Ukraine angered populist conservatives in the House and gave new energy to the threat to remove him as speaker.

Referring to himself as a “Reagan Republican,” Johnson told reporters: “Look, history judges us for what we do. It’s a critical time right now.

Votes on the package are expected Saturday evening, Johnson said. But he faces a dangerous path to succeed.

The speaker needs Democratic support in procedural maneuvers to advance his complex plan to hold separate votes on each part of the aid package. Johnson is trying to pass aid across the House’s political divides on foreign policy by forming single voting blocs on each issue and then stitching the package back together.

Under the plan, the House would also vote on a bill that constitutes a series of foreign policy proposals. It includes legislation allowing the United States to seize frozen Russian central bank assets to rebuild Ukraine; impose sanctions on Iran, Russia, China and criminal organizations that traffic fentanyl; And potentially ban video app TikTok if its China-based owner does not sell his stake within a year.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said in a statement that she was “very pleased” that the House bill extended the deadline for ByteDance to sell TikTok. She had managed to change the deadline from six months to a year, saying that would give the company enough time to find a buyer.

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said he plans to bring Democrats together for a meeting Thursday morning to discuss the package “as a caucus, as a family, as a team.”

“Our commitment is ironclad,” he told reporters. “We will work to support our democratic allies in Ukraine, Israel, the Indo-Pacific region and secure the humanitarian assistance needed to intervene in Gaza and other theaters of war around the world. »

The House proposal keeps intact about $9 billion in humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza and other conflict zones. However, progressive Democrats oppose the idea of ​​providing Israel with money that could be used for its campaign in Gaza, which has killed thousands of civilians.

“If they condition the offensive part of the aid, that would be a conversation, but I can’t vote for more aid to go to Gaza and continue to kill people,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. .

Meanwhile, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia,’s threat to oust Johnson gained momentum this week. Another Republican, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, said he joined Greene and called on Johnson to resign. Other Republican lawmakers have openly challenged Johnson’s leadership.

“I want someone who will actually pursue a Republican agenda and who knows how to get in the room and negotiate without being tossed around the room like some kind of party toy,” Greene said. But she added that she would not budge on the motion to abandon Johnson as president before the vote on foreign aid.

In an effort to satisfy conservatives, Johnson proposed holding a separate vote on a border security bill, but conservatives rejected the proposal as insufficient. Rep. Chip Roy of Texas called the strategy “a complete failure.”

“We’re going to borrow money we don’t have, not to defend America, but to defend other nations. We’re not going to do anything to secure our border,” said Rep. Bob Good, chairman of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus.

As the speaker fought for his position, his office went into overdrive, trumpeting support from Republican governors and conservative and religious leaders to keep Johnson in power.

“Enough is enough,” Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said on social media. He said that “instead of bickering among themselves,” House Republicans should do their “job and vote on the important issues facing our nation.”

At the same time, the president’s office was tidying up after Johnson said on Fox News that he and Trump were “100 percent united” on major agenda items, while in fact the Republican presidential candidate, who had just welcomed the leader of the House of Representatives in a meeting room. show of support, opposes much foreign aid as well as a separate national security oversight bill.

Johnson told CNN on Wednesday that he believed Trump, if elected president, would be “strong enough to be able to get on the world stage to broker a peace deal” between Ukraine and Russia.

Yet Johnson’s willingness to provide foreign aid comes as concern grows in Washington over the deteriorating situation in Ukraine. Johnson, delaying an excruciating process, had waited more than two months to bring up the measure since the Senate passed it in February.

“Ukraine is on the verge of collapse,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

At a hearing Wednesday, Pentagon leaders said Ukraine and Israel desperately need military weapons.

“We are already seeing things on the battlefield starting to move slightly in Russia’s favor,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.

The House version of the aid bill pushes the Biden administration to provide Ukraine with long-range ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile Systems), which could be used to target supply lines Russians.

The United States has resisted sending the weapons, fearing that Moscow would view them as escalatory, as they could penetrate deeper into Russia and Russian-controlled territory. The House legislation would also allow the president to refuse to send ATACMS if doing so would be against national security interests, but Congress would have to be notified.

Still, there has been recognition in Washington that Johnson may soon step down as president — a position he has held less than five months into his term as representative. Kevin McCarthy was ousted from office.

Rep. Don Bacon, a Republican from Nebraska, said this week that if Johnson were ousted, he “would be known in history as the man who did the right thing even if it cost him a job.”

News Source :
Gn world

jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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