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US House Speaker Jonson promises Ukraine aid bill vote with “innovations” after recess

US House Speaker Mike Johnson intends to move a Ukraine aid package featuring “important innovations” after recess, but if passed, the House’s alternative bill would require Senate approval, leading to further aid delays.
Mike johnson ukraine aid stalled republicans
The US House of Representatives speaker, Republican Mike Johnson. Photo: Mike Johnson via Instagram
US House Speaker Jonson promises Ukraine aid bill vote with “innovations” after recess

On 31 March, Republican Mike Johnson, the US House Speaker, announced plans to advance a package containing aid for Ukraine after the House returns from recess on 9 April, with expectations for the package to feature “some important innovations,” The Hill reports.

The foreign aid package, including crucial military assistance for Ukraine, has been delayed since last fall by far-right Republicans in Congress. The Senate passed a $95 billion bill, with over $60 billion for Ukraine, but House Speaker Mike Johnson refused to bring it to a vote, citing the need not to rush. He now plans to hold the vote after the Easter recess, following the government funding resolution.

In an interview on Fox News, Johnson highlighted the challenges of his historically narrow House majority but expressed ongoing efforts to develop a package during the current work period and aims to present it when the House reconvenes.

Johnson’s interview comes as he has signaled his intent to push through legislation providing funding for Ukraine, but has yet to detail the specifics.

“Look, what we have to do in an era of divided government – historically, as we are – you got to build consensus. If we want to move a partisan measure, I got to have every single member, literally,” said Johnson. “And some things need to be bipartisan.”

The House Speaker added:

“But when it comes to the supplemental [foreign aid package], we’ve been working to build that consensus. We’ve been talking to all the members, especially now over the district work period. When we return after this work period, we’ll be moving a product, but it’s going to, I think, have some important innovations,” Johnson said.

Johnson suggested extending a loan to Ukraine, an idea that gained traction recently, as a means to support Ukraine and address conservative concerns about providing aid amid its fight against Russian aggression. He also mentioned the REPO for Ukrainians Act, which would authorize the president to seize Russian sovereign assets frozen in the US and give them to Ukraine for use against Russia.

“The REPO Act, you know, if we can use the seized assets of Russian oligarchs to allow the Ukrainians to fight them, that’s just pure poetry,” Johnson said. “Even President Trump has talked about the loan concept, where … we’re not just giving foreign aid. We’re setting it up in a relationship where they can provide it back to us when the time is right.”

In order to “unleash American energy,” Johnson wants to increase natural gas exports, which he believes will help undermine Vladimir Putin’s war efforts in Ukraine.

“We’re putting that product together and we’ll be moving it right after the district work period,” Johnson said.

“No US aid, no choice but retreat,” Zelenskyy warns

If the House opts not to pass the Senate-approved aid bill from February and instead votes on its own bill, the House legislation would require Senate approval once more. For a bill to become law, it must be passed by both chambers of Congress and receive the President’s approval. This would further delay the Ukraine aid, which has already been stalled for half a year by Congressional Republicans.

Johnson’s plans suggest that the House is drafting an alternative bill, further delaying military assistance to Ukraine, crucial for enhancing Ukraine’s air defenses against escalated Russian air attacks and addressing the ongoing shell shortage, which has given Russia a months-long advantage on the front lines.

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