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House GOP’s aid bills for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan advance — with Democrats’ help

Democrats took an unusual step Thursday and helped Republican leaders advance legislation to provide billions of dollars in blocked security funding to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, bringing the measures closer to passage this weekend.

After about a nine-hour recess, the House Rules Committee reconvened Thursday evening and advanced Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson’s foreign aid bills in a 9-3 vote, thanks to the votes of the four Democrats who serve on the committee: Ranking Member Jim McGovern. Mary Gay Scanlon, Representative of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, Joe Neguse, Representative of Colorado, and Teresa Leger Fernández, Representative of New Mexico.

The conservative Republicans on the committee — Reps. Tom Massie of Kentucky, Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Chip Roy of Texas — all voted against the rule, because border security was not associated with foreign aid. However, the speaker will put to a vote Friday morning what he considers an “aggressive” border bill. The bill did not pass the Rules Committee, but the House will consider it subject to a suspension of the rules, meaning it will need two-thirds support to pass.

The House is expected to vote this weekend on final adoption of the foreign aid package.

The three foreign aid bills would provide $26.4 billion to support Israel, $60.8 billion to support Ukraine and $8.1 billion to counter China in the Indo-Pacific, including billions for Taiwan. Israel’s bill also includes more than $9.1 billion to address humanitarian needs, which Democrats have said is necessary for their support.

A fourth bill aims to address other GOP foreign policy priorities. This would include the sale of frozen assets of Russian oligarchs and potentially force the sale of TikTok and authorize tougher sanctions against Russia, China and Iran.

President Biden said he would sign the package and called on the House to pass it this week and the Senate to follow quickly. Both rooms should be on vacation next week.

Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, announced the proposal Monday, amid growing pressure from members of both parties to hold a vote on a bipartisan Senate package that includes support for U.S. allies. THE An additional financing program of $95 billion which passed the Senate in February languished for months in the House as Johnson debated the path forward.

Foreign aid has sowed deep divisions among House Republicans — some on the far right have threatened to oust Johnson from the presidency over additional funding for Ukraine, which they oppose.

Johnson defended his decision on Wednesday and said providing Ukraine with lethal aid was “critically important.”

“If I operated out of fear of a motion to leave, I would never be able to do my job,” Johnson told reporters.

“Look, history judges us for what we do,” he said, adding: “It’s a critical time on the world stage right now. I could let you know that I can make a selfish decision and do something different. But I’m doing what I believe is the right thing.

Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado predicted that “this could be the beginning of the end for the speaker.”

Ellis Kim, Nikole Killion, Laura Garrison and Kristin Brown contributed reporting.

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