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House GOP Has a Wacky Plan to Pass Ukraine Aid, Force TikTok Sale

For months, the House has been sitting on a bill that would provide aid to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and humanitarian funding to Gaza.

That’s about to change on Saturday.

House Speaker Mike Johnson – working with House Democrats – is holding separate votes on aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan, as well as a bill that would require Chinese owners of TikTok to sell the app within a year.

It’s a modified version of a $95.3 billion aid package that passed the Senate with a strong bipartisan majority in February. In an effort to deal with increasingly complex policies regarding aid to Ukraine and Israel, he holds separate votes on each component, then consolidates them and sends them to the Senate.

All of this comes as Johnson faces a threat from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to call a vote on his ouster if he allows more aid to Ukraine to pass.

Here’s what’s in the four bills

The content of the four bills largely reflects the content of the bill passed by the Senate, divided into several parts. Everyone will receive an individual vote.

Israeli aid: $26.38 billion in total, including $14.1 billion in military aid to Israel, $2.4 billion for U.S. military operations in the Middle East, and $9.2 billion in humanitarian aid to Gaza. Funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) remains banned following reports that some employees participated in the October 7 Hamas attack, a move likely to anger progressives .

Aid to Ukraine: A total of 60.84 billion dollars, of which 23.2 billion will be used to replenish American weapons stocks. It also makes it possible to structure aid to Ukraine in the form of a loan.

Aid to Taiwan and Indo-Pacific military financing: A total of $8.12 billion, including $3.3 billion for U.S. undersea infrastructure, $2 billion in military aid to Taiwan, and $1.9 billion to replenish already supplied U.S. weapons to Taiwan and other countries.

TikTok bill and other provisions: A package that includes a recently passed bill to force the sale of the popular TikTok app, a bill to confiscate Russian assets, and much more. Unlike a version of the TikTok bill passed by the House last month, this one would extend the sales deadline to about a year, allaying the concerns of some senators.

Many Republicans oppose aid to Ukraine, while Democrats are increasingly skeptical of aid from Israel.

Johnson’s plan aims to tackle two distinct pockets of opposition to the foreign aid program.

After October 7, the Biden administration and Senate leaders insisted on tying aid to Israel and Ukraine, the idea being that including aid to Israel would prompt Republicans to swallow more aid to Ukraine.

Republicans, hoping to avoid this, have made numerous attempts to pass aid to Israel on their own, but they have failed or been blocked in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Democrats unanimously support aid to Ukraine, and many Republicans — including Johnson, a former Ukraine skeptic — think the same, meaning a majority of the House would vote to approve it.

But as the war in Gaza unfolded and the Democratic base increasingly turned against the war as civilian casualties mounted, Democrats became either outright opposed to Israeli aid or supportive of the conditions.

Johnson’s plan is designed to allow progressive Democrats to vote against aid to Israel, while far-right Republicans can vote against aid to Ukraine – while still allowing the entire package to move forward.

Nancy Pelosi made a version in 2007

There is precedent for what Johnson is trying to do here.

After taking back the House of Representatives in 2007, Democrats were pressured to continue funding the Iraq war — but most House Democrats opposed it.

To solve the problem, Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the House of Representatives, tied the funding to an increase in the federal minimum wage, while keeping the votes separate.

So Democrats scored a victory – raising the minimum wage by $2.10 – while funding for the Iraq war passed the House and reached President George W. Bush’s desk. era.

The far right is still furious and Johnson could face a vote to oust him

Many far-right Republicans remain opposed to the plan, and on Tuesday, Greene gained a new ally: Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who co-sponsored the Georgia congresswoman’s “evacuate motion” and is now calling Johnson to resign.

Of course, Greene and Massie are both outliers among House Republicans — they were the only two lawmakers to vote against every Russia-related bill after the Ukraine war began in 2022 — but Johnson has little margin for error given the decline in Republican votes. margin.

Several Democrats have said they will oppose any attempt to oust Johnson, marking a departure from their unanimous support for Kevin McCarthy’s ouster in October.

But this all depends on what happens on Saturday and whether the aid will actually be granted.

“Absent an organized, logical show of leadership, I’m not making any promises,” said Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, who previously indicated a willingness to save Johnson in exchange for more aid to the ‘Ukraine.

It is likely that all of this will pass both houses and be signed into law

Although Democrats and some Republicans have generally expressed some skepticism about the plan, they are willing to do whatever it takes to get the foreign aid plan approved.

Ultimately, there are majorities in the House and Senate for each element of this bill – it’s just that the coalitions supporting them are different.

The Senate is expected to vote on the combined package next week, and President Joe Biden has said he will sign it.

That means Ukraine will get the help it needs to continue the fight, Israel will get the military aid some progressives have demanded for Biden to stop, and TikTok will have about a year to sell — or will banned in the United States. UNITED STATES.


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