After Senate Passes Ukraine Aid Bill, House Works Its Own Alternative

After the Senate approved a $95 billion foreign aid package that would be split between important U.S. allies Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel last week, GOP House leaders immediately declared it dead on arrival. But now a bipartisan group of House moderates is working on its own proposal that would include $60 billion in military aid with a few additional border security measures.

The foreign aid package was the remnants of a bill killed by House Republicans last week that also included some of the harshest border security measures in U.S. history. Most Republicans opposed the bill, claiming that the new border laws did not go far enough, despite the legislation being negotiated by one of its most conservative members.

The new foreign aid package, which passed through the Senate 70-29, is mostly related to military aid. Thirty billion dollars of Ukraine’s allotted $60 billion would go to weapons and munitions purchases, training soldiers and intelligence sharing. Eight billion dollars would go to helping Ukraine’s government maintain operations, and $2 billion would go into the private sector. There is about $480 million for helping Ukrainians displaced by the war.

About $14 billion from the package would go to support Israel and U.S. operations in the Middle East. This portion of the bill agitated some progressive Democrats to oppose the package – Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Peter Welch (D-Vermont) all voted no.

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Welch said about Israel’s ongoing occupation of Gaza, “The inescapable conclusion is that the Netanyahu government is not listening. It’s difficult to conclude that [Netanyahu’s] enemy is not only Hamas, but the Palestinians.”

More than $8 billion in the bill would go to Taiwan and other crucial U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific to deter aggression by the Chinese government. Most of the military provisions will be contracted to U.S. weapons manufacturers who are replenishing stockpiles around the globe.

The package contains $9 billion to provide aid and relief in the form of food, water, shelter and medical care to citizens of Gaza and Ukraine whose lives have been upended by these conflicts.

While the bill received bipartisan support in the Senate, like its predecessor, it seems doomed to die in the House. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) said, “In the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters.”

Clark Franzman

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