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Ukraine’s military aid hangs in balance as US House reconvenes tomorrow

After returning from recess tomorrow, the US House may consider a critical $60 billion Ukraine aid package, stalled for six months. British FM is traveling to the US to press Speaker Mike Johnson for its passage.
Congress of the United States.
The Congress of the United States. Photo:
Ukraine’s military aid hangs in balance as US House reconvenes tomorrow

As the US House of Representatives returns to work on 9 April, Speaker Mike Johnson is facing a critical test that could determine the fate of a $60 billion aid package for Ukraine – and potentially his own political future. Meanwhile, Britain is ramping up pressure on the US to approve the crucial aid for Ukraine.

The US 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.

The next two weeks are crucial for House Speaker Mike Johnson’s nearly six-month tenure, as his House’s majority continues to narrow, potentially leading to his ouster and further dysfunction in Congress’s lower chamber, according to the New York Times.

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Trump ally, has made no secret of her intent to trigger a vote to remove Johnson from the speakership if he proceeds with the foreign aid package.

“Mike Johnson cannot be Speaker of the House because… he has betrayed the values, the morals, the ethics, the principles of Republican voters all across the country,” Greene claimed, as per NYT.

The $60 billion Ukraine aid package, which would provide Kyiv with critical military, financial, and humanitarian support, was approved by the Senate in February. However, it has remained stalled in the House since then.

Now, Johnson has two legislative options to approve more funding for Ukraine: the Senate-approved package and a smaller $66 billion bill introduced by a bipartisan group of House members, with the latter providing military-only funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, excluding the $10 billion for humanitarian aid in the Senate bill and including border security provisions to appeal to some Republicans.

In an effort to gain further support, Johnson mentioned considering innovative approaches such as providing aid to Kyiv as a loan or redirecting seized Russian assets under the Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity for Ukrainians Act.

Zelenskyy says Ukraine is open for loans as a form of US aid if it is provided timely

However, if the House approves anything other than the Senate-passed bill, the new legislation would require Senate approval once again.

The stakes could not be higher, as Ukraine’s military faces critical ammunition shortages and the Biden administration has warned that further delays in approving the aid could have devastating consequences.

UK urges US House to pass Ukraine aid

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and his French counterpart Stéphane Séjourné have issued a forceful warning in a joint op-ed published in The Telegraph, declaring that Britain and France are clear that “Ukraine must win this war. If Ukraine loses, we all lose. The costs of failing to support Ukraine now will be far greater than the costs of repelling Putin.”

In the op-ed, the two foreign ministers say that Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine is “having a profound impact on European and Euro-Atlantic security.”

Cameron is set to travel to Washington next week to meet directly with Speaker Johnson, underscoring the global importance of the House GOP’s next moves, according to a Reuters report. Last week, Cameron also reached out to other European foreign ministers, urging them to “get on the phone” with Johnson in a bid to unlock the stalled aid package.

UK foreign secretary Cameron heads to US to lobby for Ukraine aid

Congress does listen to what others say and what America is capable of doing,” Cameron said, as per Politico. “I think the thing that could most change the narrative about Ukraine [would be the] $60 billion flowing from [the] US to Ukraine.”

However, Cameron’s interventions have angered some Republican hardliners like Greene, who dismissed the British diplomat’s efforts, saying he “needs to worry about his own country, and frankly, he can kiss my ass,” according to Politico.

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