House advances Ukraine, Israel aid as Dems help Speaker Johnson, GOP

Source: The Hill | April 19, 2024 | Mychael Schnell and Mike Lillis

The House on Friday advanced legislation to send aid to Ukraine and other embattled U.S. allies overseas, clearing a key procedural hurdle after Democrats stepped in to back the measure — a rare move by the minority party, but one that was crucial to nudge the package forward in the face of fierce conservative opposition.

The chamber approved the foreign aid rule in a 316-94 vote, opening up debate on a quartet of bills combining military aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan with humanitarian assistance to Gaza and other global war zones. The successful rule tees up final passage of all four measures, which are scheduled to hit the floor in separate votes on Saturday afternoon.

The successful vote brings Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) one step closer to passing an explosive foreign aid package that has been the subject of intense debate within the Capitol — and his conference — for months amid dire warnings from lawmakers, U.S. officials and foreign figures that Kyiv’s beleaguered forces need more U.S. assistance.

But the bipartisan vote is sure to land Johnson in more hot water with his right flank, which has sharply criticized the package — both for the billions of dollars in Ukraine aid and the exclusion of border security — and have long denounced the Speaker’s tendency to work with Democrats to advance key priorities including, now, foreign assistance.

Highlighting those internal tensions, three Republicans on the House Rules Committee had voted against the rule on the panel late Thursday night. And 55 conservatives voted against it again when it hit the House floor Friday morning. The House Freedom Caucus released an official position on Thursday urging all Republicans to oppose the rule.


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