Vote: US House of Representatives votes for Ukraine aid

Vote: US House of Representatives votes for Ukraine aid

For months there was no movement in the US Congress: Republicans in the House of Representatives blocked billions in aid for Ukraine. Now there is a breakthrough.

After months of blockade, the US House of Representatives has approved a billion-dollar aid package with urgently needed arms supplies for Ukraine, which is under attack by Russia. The Chamber of Parliament passed a corresponding bill on Saturday afternoon (local time), which contains around 61 billion US dollars (57 billion euros) for Kiev.

The necessary approval from the Senate is still pending, but is considered certain. The bill passed with a bipartisan majority of 311 to 112 in the chamber, where Republicans have a razor-thin majority.

Applause after the vote

There was applause in the plenary session after the vote. A number of MPs waved Ukrainian flags and shouted “Ukraine, Ukraine”. They were called to order. Numerous Republicans voted against the aid, but were unable to prevent its adoption with the help of US President Joe Biden’s Democrats. The Republicans have a razor-thin majority in the chamber. The vote could cost the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, his job. Several radical MPs loyal to former President Donald Trump opposed aid to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the US House of Representatives for the vote. He was grateful to both parties and personally to Johnson “for the decision that keeps history on the right track,” he said shortly after the vote on the X platform (formerly Twitter). “Democracy and freedom will always have global significance and will never fail as long as America helps protect them.” US President Biden also thanked the members of the chamber and called on the Senate to act quickly. It is expected that the chamber could vote on the package as early as next week.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock spoke of a “day of confidence for Ukraine and Europe’s security”. “The hearts of the most important Ukraine supporters are beating to the beat again,” wrote the Green politician on Saturday evening on X. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised the vote as an investment in the security of NATO states. “Ukraine is using weapons provided by NATO allies to destroy Russian combat capabilities,” said Stoltenberg. “This makes us all safer, in Europe and North America.” The vote is also a sign that there continues to be bipartisan support for Ukraine in the USA.

The package provides about $23 billion for expanding the U.S. military inventory. The money therefore goes indirectly to Ukraine, as the USA usually supplies the country attacked by Russia with equipment from its stocks. The remainder is earmarked for further military support and financial assistance. The latter is designed as a loan. The text also states that US President Biden should provide Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missile systems “as soon as practicable”. Kiev has long hoped for the weapon system, whose missiles are fired from the ground at targets on the ground.

Internal party power struggle among the Republicans

The House of Representatives did not just vote in support of Kiev. Chairman Johnson put further packages up for vote. Another draft provides a good 26 billion US dollars for Israel. On the one hand, it is intended, for example, to finance Israel’s missile defense and the US’s ongoing military operations in the region. On the other hand, around nine billion US dollars are intended for humanitarian support, including for the people in the Gaza Strip. Around eight billion US dollars in support for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region and a text that envisages a sale of the Chinese short video app Tiktok as well as sanctions against Iran and the confiscation of Russian assets have already been accepted.

The Senate had actually already voted in February for a billion-dollar aid package requested by Biden. This also provided for billions in aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. However, there was never a vote in the House of Representatives because an internal party power struggle was raging in the Republican-dominated chamber. Chairman Johnson is under a lot of pressure, especially from the right-wing fringe of his party.

Right wing Republicans want to overthrow chairman

The hard-right Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene submitted a first request for his deselection at the end of March, and two other members of the party later joined the party. For them, the vote on Ukraine aid is a red line. It remains to be seen whether Greene will actually push for a vote on Johnson’s removal. If she were to do so, Johnson would probably also have to rely on the support of the Democrats here because of the slim majority in the chamber. He could probably count on them, since they have been pushing for aid to Ukraine for months.

The USA is considered Ukraine’s most important ally in the fight against the Russian invasion. Since the war began in February 2022, President Biden’s administration has provided more than $44 billion in military assistance to Kyiv. There are also billions more in non-military financial aid. According to the US government, the funds approved by Congress have been used up – which is why the vote on new aid is of great importance.

Source: Stern

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