Ukraine at War Update for April 18: ‘All Lives Have the Same Value’

webnexttech | Ukraine at War Update for April 18: ‘All Lives Have the Same Value’

US House of Representatives Speaker to introduce new Ukraine aid bill which must then survive likely Senate Republican filibuster Defying hardliners within his party in the US House of Representatives, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) on Wednesday announced he would put forth a long-awaited bill to provide aid to Ukraine. Rather than putting a Senate-passed bill to a vote that included $61 billion in assistance for Kyiv, the House is devising three separate bills of its own, one of which extends $10 billion of that sum to Ukraine as a loan to help keep its government running, while the rest would come in the form of military support. Introducing an entirely new bill in the House means the bill must also pass the Senate where a predicted filibuster by Senate Republicans would bring further delays. To halt the filibuster, according to self-imposed Senate rules not required by the US Constitution, 60 votes would be required. This would mean 10 Republicans in addition to the 50 Democrats would have to favor immediate passage for the entirely new bill to proceed to a Senate floor vote. If it gets to a Senate floor vote the bill would have to be passed without amendments before making its way to President Joe Biden for signature. If any changes are made in the Senate the bill would then have to return to the House where it would have to make its way to another House floor vote, which Speaker Johnson could again block. The lower chamber is set to vote on the measures on Saturday. The three bills, totaling the same $95 billion in procurement originally proposed by the Senate, if passed would then be sent to the upper chamber for approval, but would likely arrive there in the form of a single bill, policy analysts have said. “After significant Member feedback and discussion, the House Rules Committee will be posting soon today the text of three bills that will fund America’s national security interests and allies in Israel, the Indo-Pacific, and Ukraine, including a loan structure for aid, and enhanced strategy and accountability,” Johnson wrote in a communication to colleagues. A fourth bill would address the sale of frozen Russian assets and impose stricter sanctions on Moscow. Restructuring the Ukraine aid to include a loan (an idea favored by former president Donald Trump) was designed to appease some more right-wing Republicans in Congress. Still, flooring any vote on assistance to Kyiv has angered a small hardline faction of Republican representatives who since have called for Johnson’s ouster. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), one of the most vocal and flamboyant opponents of America’s financial support of Ukraine, has filed a motion to vacate the Speaker’s post. Washington insiders believe the proposal is unlikely to go anywhere in the House, which is still reeling from the chaos caused by the removal of Johnson’s predecessor, Kevin McCarthy of California. Taylor Greene’s allies, especially Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Chip Roy (R-TX), similarly expressed outrage that the relatively new speaker would bring to the floor any foreign-aid bills supported by Democrats.

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