The House will vote on foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

The House was moving toward passing a $95 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan on Saturday, as President Mike Johnson put his job on the line to advance long-stalled legislation, despite the extremists in his own party.

Lawmakers were expected to vote separately Saturday afternoon on aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, as well as another bill that includes a measure that could result in a nationwide ban on TikTok and new sanctions on Iran. The fourth bill was intended to sweeten the deal for the conservatives.

Johnson structured the measures, which will be merged into one after each party approves, to capture different coalitions of support without allowing opposition to any one element to sink the entire deal. Each of the aid bills for the three nations is expected to pass by overwhelming majorities. The Senate is expected to take up the legislation as early as Tuesday and send it to President Biden's desk, ending its tortuous path to implementation for him.

The legislation provides $60 billion for Kiev; $26 billion for Israel and humanitarian aid for civilians in conflict zones, including Gaza; and $8 billion for the Indo-Pacific region. It would direct the president to ask the Ukrainian government to repay $10 billion in economic assistance, a provision supported by former President Donald J. Trump, who pushed for any aid to Ukraine to be in the form of a loan. But the legislation would also allow the president to forgive such loans starting in 2026.

The scene expected to play out on the House floor Saturday will reflect both the broad bipartisan support in Congress for continuing to help the Ukrainian military repel Russian forces and the extraordinary political risk taken by Johnson to challenge the anti-Union Soviet. interventionist wing of his party which had blocked the measure for months. Ultimately, the speaker, himself an ultraconservative who had previously voted against funding Ukraine's war effort, bypassed his right flank and relied on Democrats to pass the measure.

“When it comes to keeping America strong, when it comes to keeping America great, when it comes to keeping America at peace, then none of us can afford to simply be a Democrat or a Republican,” he said Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican and Republican. the president of the Foreign Affairs Committee said this on Saturday, while the Chamber was discussing the measure. “We must all stand together as Americans. And once again today we must speak with one voice, as one nation, especially when we address our adversaries.”

For months, it was uncertain whether Congress would approve another round of funding for Ukraine, even as the war's momentum shifted in Russia's favor. Republicans opposed another aid package for Kiev unless President Biden agreed to tough anti-immigration measures, and then refused to pass legislation that would pair the aid with tougher border control provisions.

But after the Senate passed its own $95 billion emergency aid legislation for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, Johnson began – first privately and then loudly – ​​proclaiming that he would ensure that the United States would “ done our job” and sent aid to Kiev, continuing to do so. to vote for him even in the face of the threat of expulsion from the right.

Warning that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin might send forces to the Balkans and Poland if Ukraine falls, Johnson said he made the decision to frontload aid to Kiev because he “would rather send bullets to Ukraine than to the boys Americans. “

“My son is going to start the Naval Academy this fall,” Johnson told reporters on Capitol Hill earlier this week. “This is a live-fire exercise for me, as it is for so many American families. That's not a game. It's not a joke. We can't play politics on this. We must do the right thing and I will give every single member of the House the opportunity to vote according to their conscience and will.”

His decision infuriated ultra-conservative Republicans who accused Johnson of reneging on his promise not to promote foreign aid without first winning broad political concessions on the southern border. On Friday, a third Republican, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, announced support for ousting Johnson as speaker following his move.

“I am concerned that the speaker has made a deal with Democrats to fund foreign wars rather than protect our border,” Rep. Thomas Massie, Republican of Kentucky, said Friday as he opposed a procedural measure to advance the ​​package, which needed Democratic votes to pass.

Massie was one of the most vocal opponents of foreign aid legislation and for this reason joined the effort to oust Johnson.

Republican opposition to the measure — both in the House and in the critical Rules Committee — forced Johnson to rely on Democrats to bring the floor to the floor, which they did in a critical test vote Friday.

“We are here today, finally, doing the people's work; doing what we should have done months ago,” Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, said Saturday. “Support our friends, support our allies around the world, and allay doubts about whether America is a reliable partner or not, whether the United States will continue to lead the world stage or not.”

One of the bills discussed Saturday would help pave the way for the sale of frozen Russian sovereign assets to help finance Ukraine's war effort. American allies, including France and Germany, have been skeptical about the feasibility of such a move under international law, and have instead pushed to give the interest proceeds of the nearly $300 billion in frozen Russian assets directly to Ukraine , either in the form of loans or as collateral to borrow money.

The bill would also impose sanctions on Iranian and Russian officials and further limit the export of U.S. technology used to produce Iranian drones.

Lawmakers are also expected to vote on a number of amendments, including a pair proposed by Republicans that would zero out or limit funding for Ukraine. These efforts are expected to fail.

Alan Rappeport contributed to the reporting.

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