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Biden, senators urge House Republicans to take up $95 billion Ukraine bill

Published 02/13/2024, 01:32 AM
Updated 02/13/2024, 05:50 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol Building is seen in Washington, U.S., August 15, 2023. REUTERS/Kevin Wurm/File Photo

By David Morgan and Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Democratic President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of lawmakers including the top U.S. Senate Republican on Tuesday urged the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to take up a $95.34 billion military aid package for Ukraine and other allies.

The measure passed the Senate in a 70-29 vote shortly before dawn on Tuesday after a hardline group of Republicans spent the night trying to block it. But it was unclear if House Speaker Mike Johnson would even bring it up for a vote in the chamber his party controls by a narrow 219-212 margin.

Both houses of Congress must approve the legislation before Biden can sign it into law.

Ukraine's leadership sees the funding as crucial as it continues to fight an invasion launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin nearly two years ago. Biden has been pushing for the package, which also includes security funding for Israel and Taiwan and humanitarian aid for Palestinians, for months, but has faced opposition from Republican hardliners, particularly those most closely aligned with former President Donald Trump.

"I call on the speaker to let the full House speak its mind and not allow a minority of the most extreme voices in the House to block this bill even from being voted on," Biden said in remarks from the White House. "Supporting this bill is standing up to Putin, opposing it is playing into Putin's hands."

Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, who was among the 22 Republicans in the chamber who voted for the bill, said he hoped the House would consider it.

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"I hope the speaker will find a way to allow the House to work its will on the issue of Ukraine aid and the other parts of the bill as well," McConnell told Politico in an interview.

Johnson issued a statement before the Senate vote that faulted the bill for lacking conservative provisions to stem a record flow of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border, suggesting he would not schedule a vote any time soon.

"America deserves better than the Senate's status quo," Johnson said in his statement.

Senate Republicans last week blocked a bill that would have coupled the security aid with the most sweeping changes to border policy in decades, after Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, criticized it.

Johnson has suggested in the past that the House could split the legislation into separate bills and twice introduced bills providing aid only to Israel, neither of which succeeded.

The House on Tuesday was planning its second vote to try to impeach Biden's top border official, after an embarrassing failure last week for Johnson.

ALTERNATE PATHS

If Johnson does not agree to a vote on the bill, Democrats could attempt a rare maneuver known as a "discharge petition," which allows members to force a House vote. That maneuver requires the signatures of a majority of the House's members. The last successful discharge petition was filed in 2015.

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries sent a letter to his caucus promising to "use every available legislative tool" to get the bill passed. That could include a discharge petition, although he would not say whether he planned to attempt it.

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He told a news conference that he believed there were 300 votes - both Democratic and Republican - in the House in favor of the national security bill.

The House has not passed major assistance for Ukraine since Republicans took control of the chamber in January 2023. Staunch Trump ally Johnson voted against previous aid bills for Kyiv before he became speaker last year.

The package also includes funds for Israel, humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza and funds to help Taiwan and other U.S. partners in the Indo-Pacific stand up to China.

Some opponents of the bill demanded that any foreign assistance be offset by spending cuts, noting large federal budget deficits. "We shouldn't borrow $100 billion from our kids and our grandkids to send it overseas," Republican Representative Bob Good told reporters.

Ukrainian officials have warned of weapons shortages at a time when Russia is pressing ahead with renewed attacks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy quickly hailed passage of the bill. "American assistance brings just peace in Ukraine closer and restores global stability, resulting in increased security and prosperity for all Americans and all the free world," Zelenskiy said on the social media platform X.

Backers of the aid have been warily watching Trump's reaction. He has criticized the aid on social media, saying it should take the form of a loan, and also worried U.S. allies by suggesting he could encourage aggression against some NATO members.

Latest comments

We will soon know who infected the Republican house is of russia. Do they want to help our allies in europe or do they want to help Putin in his invasion of our allies and at the same time screw our allies and reneg on our promises to support and defend Ukraine as per the Minsk agreement where USA promised to ensure security support of ukraine if they delivered their nukes.
Trump already said, " No, I would not protect you [US allies]. In fact, I would encourage them [Russians] to do whatever the hell they want."  He gave Putin the all-clear to invade and commit war crimes.
More taxpayer dollars going to corrupt Democratic funding schemes
Mark your russian advice is not wanted here in USA.
Biden is not even competent to stand trial for his crimes according to his own DOJ, just wait this potato's term out until Trump gets back into office next year.
hopefully the house does the right thing and put this garbage where it belongs. Inflation is heading in the wrong direction again. we do not need another Inflation bill nor support a corrupt country, nor Bidens debts
first the EU, now the US, have secured and will provide long term funding in a show of unwavering support for Ukraine.
"Likewise, Michael Clemens, a professor of economics at George Mason University, said “undocumented immigrants pay taxes, amounting to tens of billions of dollars in local, state, and federal taxes per year” — even though they can’t access most benefits that U.S. citizens are entitled to receive.  The Social Security Administration estimated in 2010, for example, that such immigrants contribute $12 billion per year more to the Social Security system than they take out, he noted.  --  apnews.com/article/fact-check-immigrants-taxes-rent-vaccine-requirements-983035929946
Trump calling his apartment 2,800 m^2 instead of its actual 1,000 m^2 felt good to his ego at 1st, not so much now.
Max, the US has not approved the long term funding.  It's still in the House, remember??
LoveQE Keep Your russian advice to yourself and stop interfeering in our decisions.
A San Francisco Fed report highlights concern over Congressional spending that’s out of control, Social Security, Medicare, and rising interest on the national debt. We should focus on our problems before sending more money overseas.
Russian/CCP/Islamist aggressions are problems for the US.
 Millions of illegals flooding the border is far worse.
  I never said US shouldn't focus on that problem, too.  But to argue the US can/should only focus on 1 problem, ...
Whats unclear? Either you are with our european allies or you want to help putin win his war against ukraine and then….
From what I hear even Bernie voted against it, and he’s not a hardline Republican.
Bernie is not a Democrat, either.  47% of the Republicans in the Senate voted for bill.
Agree Russia must stop the invasion of ukraine…..
War mongers, stop the killing.
Say that to putin not USA.
Yes Joe you right unemployment was 11% in USA under Trump so he beat Biden who can only deliver 3.7% unemployment. S&P 500 have climbed above 5000 making millions for the american pensions, never seen before due to Bidens bad economics. US is pumping oil and gas in supplus which we are exporting to Europe who no longer want russian gas, a big problem for Biden.
No new wars while Trump was President....record economy....energy independence...on and on....
"serenity now, insanity later"  --  Frank Costanza
 Don't forget dementia in between.  The Commander-in-Chief wets the bed
"covfefe", Carroll as ex-wife, Haley as Pelosi, etc.
u are not for real. u are russian trolls.
thank you USA. there is hope for freedom and democracy.
What is the point of humanitarian aid while simultaneously funding their genocide?
What genocide? You are a russian rambling troll
I put the odds at zero this passes the house with inflation going the wrong way
Mark we dont need your russian advice.
 likes wars...the more the better....
A victory for Ukraine aid is a defeat for world peace. Another year of dying courtesy of the CIA.
Sure Ted are you comming to our QUANON meeting tonight we need your insight into the CIA.
 "if we had a leader that could negotiate peace"  - yeah that's why you support the Orange Messiah who is actively encouraging Putin to attack America's allies, eh?
Why do you think Trump wanted out of NATO so badly? He knew Putin was getting ready to go into Ukraine. He wanted to give Putin a free hand without US intervention. Remember the private meeting Trump and Putin had? You think they discussed books?
Trump converted conservatives into communists who want to restore the Soviet Union.
Its wild! PPP was massive welfare for right wingers too.
No border deal, no deal
Republican declined to pass their own negotiated border deal because Trump did want a solution to the border problems so he can run on this. He could not less about the american people for whom this is a problem.
Oops .... My apologies, I forgot Iran. You can never forget that Deranged Raghead country. Once they go Nuclear, it's a "More Virgins For Me" free for all. 'Nuff said. Charles.
DOA when it hits Congress. We should become an Isolationlist Country again, like just before WWII when Japan, Germany and Italy, reeked havoc around the Globe. Today it would be China, Russia and North Korea. Then we get out our old WWII playbook and start anew. Do I get an Amen? Just a thought. Love to All, Charles.
The adults prevail.
shut the government down period... America should come first
Sure. Shutting down the government would put America first. What is it with these magabillies? They are some of the dyumbest people to walk the earth.
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