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Thursday, May 23, 2024

USA, Congress. The aid package for Ukraine passed

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The US House of Representatives supported the bill on long-awaited aid for Ukraine. The adoption of the aid package worth over $60 billion has been blocked for months by the anti-Ukrainian wing of the Republican Party.

The project was supported by the vast majority of congressmen from both parties, by a vote of 311-112. All Democrats and a minority of Republicans voted for the bill (101 out of 213).

– You can see great joy and Ukrainian flags that appeared in the House of Representatives – reported the correspondent of “Fakty” TVN, Marcin Wrona, after the vote.

Earlier, the House also passed a bill containing a set of other security priorities, including provisions allowing frozen Russian assets (worth $5-8 billion) to be used to help Ukraine and forcing the sale of TikTok by the app's Chinese owner.

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An 8-billion-euro package of support for Taiwan and strengthening the defense of the Indo-Pacific was also passed. The amendments that included: assumed the removal of financial assistance to Ukraine.

Now it's time for the Senate

All four elements will now go to the Senate as one bill. It will probably be voted on next week. As a Democratic representative in Congress said, the adoption of the bill is expected on Tuesday, but everything will depend on procedural arrangements between the parties in the Senate. Republican head of the budget committee Tom Cole, the author of the bills, said he expected the regulations to pass quickly through the Senate.

– It was a great vote, very cross-party. Each congressman was given a chance to vote on each component. I am proud that these bills passed and that we will provide help to our friends and allies, as well as strengthen our international position – admitted the politician.

Biden calls for quick work

In a statement issued immediately after the vote, President Joe Biden called on the Senate to send the bill to his desk as soon as possible so that he could sign it and send the needed weapons to Ukraine. He stressed that the vote came “at a moment of grave and urgent need, when Israel is facing unprecedented attacks from Iran and Ukraine is under constant bombardment from Russia.”

Vote in the House of Representatives on Ukraine Reuters

In extraordinary political circumstances

The adoption of the long-awaited aid for Ukraine was possible thanks to… Friday's decision by the House of Representativeswhich voted on further processing of four bills, including the law on aid for Kiev.

The vote came under unusual political circumstances because the voting rule was adopted over the objections of some of the majority-Republican members of the Rules Committee, but with the support of Democrats.

During Saturday's debate before the vote, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, argued that the threats from Russia, China and Iran are interconnected and require a united American stance.

– As Reagan said, when it comes to keeping America strong, when it comes to keeping America safe, none of us can afford to be just Republicans and Democrats. (…) Today we must speak with one voice. Because Putin is looking at us. Xi looks at us. And the Ayatollah is watching us, he argued.

His Democratic counterpart, Gregory Meeks, agreed with him, noting the historical importance of the moment and the unprecedented cooperation of both parties on this issue. He said that although the vote should have taken place months ago, it was about “silencing doubts about whether we are a trustworthy partner or not, and whether we will continue to lead on the world stage.”

Aid package for Ukraine

The law on Ukraine amounts to USD 60.8 billion, of which USD 23 billion are funds for replenishing losses in the arsenal as a result of donating equipment to Ukraine, USD 13.8 billion for the purchase of new weapons, and USD 11.3 billion for maintaining US forces in the region (this is on NATO's eastern flank). The bill also gives the US president the authority to transfer weapons worth almost $8 billion to Ukraine.

According to Politico, Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson decided to unblock the issue of aid for Ukraine, among others. due to alarming US intelligence reports regarding the situation on the Ukrainian front.

Mike Johnson PAP/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Warning from the head of the CIA

On Thursday, the head of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) warned that if the US does not transfer weapons to Ukraine, it may lose the war with Russia before the end of 2024, or at least – as he added – Russian President Vladimir Putin “may be in a situation in which will be able to dictate the terms of a political agreement.”

Earlier, when appearing before committees of both houses of Congress, he made similar diagnoses, among others: Supreme Commander of NATO forces in Europe, General Christopher Cavoli.

The situation inside the party

The fate of US support for Ukraine since February – after the Senate passed the aid package – depended almost exclusively on the Speaker of the House of Representatives and his decision to put it to a vote. Johnson repeated that the US “will not leave” Ukraine, but for many months he delayed or resisted the package proposed by the White House, demanding, among other things, radically tightening immigration policy or defining a clear administration strategy.

According to Politico, the real reason was the situation within his party, which has an advantage of only one vote in the House. Johnson was under pressure from both Ukraine aid supporters and the anti-Ukraine fringe wing, which threatened to remove him from office. At the same time, intelligence warnings were becoming increasingly alarmist, and pressure was also coming from a number of foreign leaders, including from Poland, the Baltic states, Britain and the Czech Republic.

Author:tas, mjz/tok

Main photo source: REUTERS



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