U.S. House approves US$95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan

File photo.

21st April 2024 – (Washington) The U.S. House of Representatives, in a session marked by cross-party support and internal dissent, passed a substantial $95 billion aid package on Saturday, aimed at bolstering the defences of Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. The bill, which saw significant Republican opposition, now moves to the Senate, where a similar proposal was endorsed over two months ago.

The legislative package, which received the backing of key figures including Democratic President Joe Biden and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, was brought to the floor by House Speaker Mike Johnson amidst considerable pressure. With the Senate poised to start deliberations next Tuesday, the bill is expected to be signed into law by President Biden shortly thereafter.

The allocation includes $60.84 billion directed towards the conflict in Ukraine, with funds earmarked for replenishing U.S. weapons, stocks, and facilities. Israel will receive $26 billion, with $9.1 billion dedicated to humanitarian efforts, while $8.12 billion is allocated to bolster defences in the Indo-Pacific region, including Taiwan.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lauded the move, emphasizing its potential to prevent the escalation of conflict and save lives. The decision aligns with President Biden’s assertion of the urgent need for this support, citing ongoing threats to Israel from Iran and continued Russian aggression against Ukraine.

The House vote was decisive at 311-112, though it highlighted a stark divide within the Republican ranks—112 Republicans voted against the bill, with only 101 in support. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a vocal critic of the aid to Ukraine, underscored the fractious mood by threatening the position of Speaker Johnson, who she declared a “lame duck.”

As the bill passed, the display of Ukrainian flags by some lawmakers drew criticism for breaching House decorum, underscoring the emotionally charged atmosphere.

The passage of this bill not only promises substantial contracts for U.S. defence contractors but also signals continued US commitment to its global allies amidst emerging geopolitical threats. However, it also reflects deepening fissures within American political circles, as debates over fiscal responsibility and strategic priorities intensify.