Thursday 18 April 2024

House GOP Unveils Foreign Aid Bills, Expects Final Vote Over Weekend

 House Republicans revealed on Wednesday details about a trio of bills to provide foreign aid to U.S. allies and a plan to vote on the legislation by the weekend.

One bill aims to provide $26 billion with a stated focus on supporting Israel in its defensive effort and reimbursing U.S. military operations in response to recent attacks. Humanitarian aid, a key priority for Democrats, was included in the legislation.

A second bill would give nearly $61 billion toward the Ukraine-Russia conflict and provide assistance to regional partners. Around a third of the money is earmarked for replenishing U.S. military assets. There is also a mandate for repayment of economic support by the Ukrainian government.

Yet another bill is designed to allocate roughly $8 billion to Indo-Pacific partners, including Taiwan, and strengthen U.S. military capabilities in the region to deter and counter aggression from China.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announced on Monday that the House would consider national security supplemental legislation, which the Biden administration has sought for months, after Iran launched a missile and drone attack on Israel over the weekend.

In a message to colleagues on Wednesday, seeming to anticipate pushback from GOP hardliners, Johnson said the House would also consider other measures that Republicans would support.

The three foreign aid bills will “brought to the floor under a structured rule that will allow for an amendment process, alongside a fourth bill that includes the REPO Act, TikTok bill, sanctions and other measures to confront Russia, China, and Iran,” Johnson said.

Johnson also said the Rules Committee would soon be posting the text of legislation that includes the “core components” of H.R.2, a sweeping border security bill the House passed last year, “under a separate rule that will allow for amendments.”


Members of the House Freedom Caucus signaled early opposition to the plan.

“The Republican Speaker of the House is seeking a rule to pass almost $100 billion in foreign aid — while unquestionably, dangerous criminals, terrorists, & fentanyl pour across our border,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said in a post to X. “The border ‘vote’ in this package is a watered-down dangerous cover vote. I will oppose.”

Republicans have a narrow majority in the House. If there are GOP defectors, support from Democrats would be needed to pass the bills.

In the Democrat-controlled Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had called on the House to take up a $95 billion foreign aid bill it passed in February. But, on Wednesday, President Joe Biden released a statement that said he “strongly” supports the House legislation and encouraged both chambers of Congress to pass the package.

Johnson told colleagues that leadership expects a vote on final passage of the bills on Saturday evening, a move that honors the 72-hour rule to allow members three days to read the text of the legislation.

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