US House advances Ukraine, Israel aid bills

  • : Crude oil
  • 24/04/17

The Republican-controlled US House of Representatives is preparing to advance a bill to extend military and economic aid to Ukraine, as Kyiv has complained about critical shortages of ammunition on the battlefield and has resorted to aerial attacks against refineries in Russia.

The House is also advancing a separate bill to extend military aid to Israel and to pay for the rising cost of US operations in the Middle East, including the cost of providing maritime protection from the Houthi attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea. Yet another bill would extend military aid to Taiwan and other US partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

The US Senate in February approved a bill providing around $60bn in military aid for Ukraine, $14bn for Israel, and $9bn in humanitarian aid to Gaza and other global crisis spots. House speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) has, in effect, deconstructed the Senate bill into individual components in an effort to facilitate their passage in a chamber where his party has a two seat majority and the Republican lawmakers allied with former president Donald Trump oppose aid to Ukraine.

In an effort to secure the Republican caucus' assent to the three foreign aid bills, Johnson is also planning to advance a separate bill including a hodgepodge of his party's policy priorities, such as a ban on social media network TikTok and sanctions against Iran. Yet another bill would advance draconian restrictions on immigration and strengthen the security of the US-Mexico border. 
None of the bills released today would require President Joe Biden to reconsider his pause on the issuance of new LNG export licenses.

Johnson's legislative proposal has immediately drawn opposition from some members of his party, two of which said they would move to oust him as speaker. Johnson assumed his position after his predecessor Kevin McCarthy was ousted in October following a compromise government funding deal with House Democrats.

"Every true conservative America First patriot in the House should vote against the rule for this borrowed foreign aid bill with no border security!" congressman Bob Good (R-Virginia) said via X social network.

The foreign aid bills will have to have the backing of the Democratic caucus and a sufficient number of Republicans in order to pass.

Biden said he supports the three foreign aid bills proposed by Johnson. "The House must pass the package this week and the Senate should quickly follow," Biden said.

The majority-Democratic Senate leaders likewise have signaled willingness to consider separate aid bills so long as those do not significantly differ from the version passed by the Senate.

The only major differences in the House version of the Ukraine aid bill is a requirement that the US provide no more than 50pc of the total economic assistance extended to Ukraine by western countries, as well as a requirement for Ukraine to repay the $9.5bn in direct economic support under the bill.

Congress since February 2022 has allocated $114bn in aid to Ukraine, including $66bn for military supplies. The EU in the same period has allocated $150bn to Ukraine, mostly in economic support.

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