US Congress to vote on Ukraine aid after all: potential obstacles

April 18,2024 922
US Congress to vote on Ukraine aid after all: potential obstacles

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, announced that on April 20, the US Congress will vote on aid to Ukraine. The package, which American lawmakers have been unable to pass since October of last year, aims to provide approximately $61 billion in support to Kyiv and its allies.

In addition to Ukraine, the issue of aid to Taiwan and Israel and humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip will also be considered. US President Joe Biden hoped the House of Representatives would pass the package this week.

I’ll sign this into law immediately to send a message to the world: We stand with our friends, and we won’t let Iran or Russia succeed,” Biden said.

Of the total aid allocated to Ukraine, $23 billion is earmarked for replenishing US arsenals, and $13.8 billion is for purchasing advanced weapons systems, defense goods, and defense services. The text includes a provision for Ukraine to receive long-range ATACMS missiles for HIMARS rocket artillery systems and equivalents.

As for economic assistance, unlike the Senate bill, Speaker Johnson’s bill provides Ukraine with financial support through a loan on credit. These expenses will be covered by confiscating a portion of frozen Russian assets. According to the document, the US president has the right to waive up to 50% of Ukraine’s debt for the economic assistance provided to it, but not earlier than November 15, 2024.

“The vote itself may take many hours. I believe it would be a disaster if amendments were allowed, as the Senate would not accept them, and then we would have to start all over again,” said Congressman Mike Quigley in an interview with Voice of America.

Republicans who support Ukraine expressed confidence that Speaker Johnson will succeed in his plan. “I have absolute faith in Speaker Johnson. Mike Johnson will succeed, as Ronald Reagan did, in defending freedom and democracy,” said Joe Wilson to Voice of America.

Meanwhile, Republican members of the House of Representatives, Thomas Massie and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who oppose providing aid to Ukraine, may influence the voting process if they begin a procedure to remove Speaker Johnson from office. “Joe Biden just announced he supports the House bill Johnson is forcing forward. Johnson is not our speaker, he is theirs,” wrote Greene.

The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) and the Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS) are organizing a joint call to local representatives through American voters to support allocating aid to Ukraine. Details can be found at the link.

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