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Speaker Johanson promises to unblock aid to Ukraine that will “look substantially different”

Speaker Mike Johnson signaled a loan or lend-lease approach to support Kyiv’s war efforts without direct payments from US taxpayers.
US House Speaker Mike Johnson. Credit: AP
Speaker Johanson promises to unblock aid to Ukraine that will “look substantially different”

House Speaker Mike Johnson said on 13 March that the House would send legislation to aid Ukraine; however, it would differ significantly from the $95 billion foreign aid package passed by the Senate last month, according to The Hill.

US Congressional Republicans have stalled approval of new aid funding for Ukraine for months, which led to the ammunition shortage in the Ukrainian military and let Russian Forces take some crucial positions on the east frontline in Ukraine.

The bill’s passage through the House of Representatives reportedly remains challenging, given the Republican majority’s hesitance to approve such funding. This legislation represents potentially the last opportunity for Congress to provide aid to Ukraine in the near term.

Johnson suggested structuring the aid as a loan or lend-lease program so that “US taxpayers would not be providing billions without expectation of repayment,” The Hill reported, citing the senators who participated in the meeting.

Johnson told The Hill that he “will work the will of the House” on a package to help Ukraine and said he doesn’t want to let Russian President Vladimir Putin take over the country.

“No one wants Vladimir Putin to prevail. I’m of the opinion that he wouldn’t stop at Ukraine … and go all through the way through Europe,” he said. “There is a right and wrong there, a good versus evil in my view, and Ukraine is the victim here.”

The Speaker also discussed including something akin to the REPO for Ukrainians Act, sponsored by Republican Mike McCaul, which would authorize the confiscation of Russian sovereign assets and deposit the proceeds into a Ukraine Support Fund, senators said.

Senator Kevin Cramer noted that Johnson was “pretty clear about it,” referring to the Speaker’s intention to help Ukraine through a lend-lease program and legislation to seize Russian assets. “To me, it’s the exact way to go about finding a solution that maybe isn’t unanimous, but at least everybody can get on board with,” Cramer said.

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