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US Aid Package for Ukraine Stalled in Congress: Democrats Push for Urgent Vote

When writing the article, materials from the New York Times, CNN, The Hill, The Atlantic Council, and public speeches of American politicians were used.


Almost six months have passed since US President Joe Biden introduced a bill to Congress to allocate a new aid package to Ukraine. The package also included aid to Israel, which has been attacked by Hamas militants, countering China and strengthening the border with Mexico.

Mr. Biden’s project was lost in endless and fruitless negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in Congress. As a result, in February, with great effort, the Senate voted on his project, which provided support to Ukraine (in $ 60 billion), Israel and Taiwan, and the issue with the Mexican border to take it out of the equation. .

But the Senate document never went to the House of Representatives. The main reason is the opposition from a group of Trumpist Republicans, the most radical of which is, in principle, against any aid to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives there is a confident majority of votes, from both parties, in favor of further support for Ukraine. But to do this, the bill must be raised for consideration – and Republican Speaker Mike Johnson is responsible for this in every possible way. First, he looks at the radical Trumpists from his group, who are threatening to resign because of the “Ukraine issue,” and secondly, at Donald Trump himself, who, even as a presidential candidate, able to bury a political career. any party member.

Johnson did not fulfill his promise to raise the issue of aid to Ukraine immediately after the end of the Easter holidays, on April 9. It seemed that the topic of Ukraine would again be driven down in endless consultations.

But the situation changed dramatically with the Iranian attack on Israel on the night of April 13-14. Because of this, support for Israel has once again risen to the top of the US political agenda. There has been talk in Congress that it must be allocated urgently, already this week.

The Democrats decided to take advantage of the moment and at the same time support Ukraine through the House of Representatives. The easiest way to do this is to use a shorter procedure to vote for the “Ukraine + Israel + Taiwan” project already approved by the Senate, which Mr. Biden would sign to him immediately. It would take a few hours to do everything.

However, President Johnson stood in the way again. He supports aid to Israel, but he has his own view on how to help Ukraine. The day before, he made a special trip to Trump’s residence to consult with him on this issue.

First, Johnson was able to get the support of the former president in case the most cunning Trumpists tried to force him to resign. Second, Trump again publicly agreed to support Ukraine, but with the condition that it be given with credit.

Johnson’s other ideas include including in the aid package the transfer of frozen Russian assets in the United States to Ukraine (their estimated value is around $5 billion), as well as ‘ lift the ban on the construction of new terminals for the export of liquefied gas (in theory, this should weaken Russia’s position in the world gas market).

Why the Democrats are against it

Initially, the Democrats were opposed to supporting Ukraine on credit, and not on a non-revocable basis, as it is now. According to RBC-Ukraine, Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan, during his recent visit to Kyiv, asked the Ukrainian authorities not to publicly agree to this option.

But soon President Vladimir Zelensky announced that Ukraine was in a position where it was ready to accept American aid on any terms. And according to the American media, the Democrats themselves in Congress were, in principle, ready to give concessions to Johnson / Trump on this issue – if the aid package could be voted on in the end. Now the leadership of the Democrats wants to accept the project “Ukraine + Israel + Taiwan” which has already been approved by the Senate.

On the issue of using Russian funds to help Ukraine, there is, in principle, a consensus between Republicans and Democrats. But many Democrats do not support the construction of LNG terminals. Biden had to stop this process once under pressure from environmental activists. For a significant portion of his voters, protecting the environment is a very important issue, and months before the election, the president is unlikely to lose their support.

Even his close associates have not seen the final version of Johnson’s Ukraine aid bill. “We’ll put something together and send it to the Senate,” the speaker described his campaign in one of his recent television broadcasts.

Any American law must be approved by both houses of Congress, with all amendments. As for aid to Ukraine, this means that any new initiative from Johnson must go through the Democratic-controlled Senate.

For example, splitting aid to Ukraine and Israel into two separate bills, which Johnson also discussed. Even if there are votes for this in the House of Representatives, such a proposal may not go through the Senate.

If you add additional questions to the Ukrainian package, such as LNG terminals or the Mexican border, it is almost certain to fail.

Why is it important to vote in support of Ukraine now?

Now the Speaker of the House of Representatives is under pressure from all sides, not only from the White House and the Democrats in Congress, but also from the Republicans who are against Ukraine. For example, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCall, said that aid to Ukraine and Israel should be voted in one package. “What happened in Israel last night (Iranian shelling – ed.) happens every night in Ukraine,” McCall said. 91 congressmen from both parties wrote an open letter to Johnson asking him to immediately put the “Ukraine + Israel + Taiwan” Senate bill to a vote.

Perhaps this project can be accepted past Johnson; for this, the Democrats have filed a corresponding petition in the House. At the moment, only 23 signatures are required for its implementation. But there are problems here too. First, the left wing of the democratic group, against supporting Israel, does not want to sign for it. Second, Republicans also do not want to sign – because politically it will look like a concession to Democrats.

Currently there is a very short window when it is possible to vote for support for Ukraine while the subject of Iran’s attack against Israel is still relevant. If Israel does not retaliate with a powerful strike on Iran (and this option looks increasingly likely), this topic in the media will quickly be replaced by others. And the American politician will finally focus on the presidential elections, and the moment for Ukraine will be lost.

Further developments depend on the decision made by the Republicans in the House of Representatives on Ukraine and Israel. The faction meeting will be held on the night of Monday to Tuesday, Kyiv time.

2024-04-15 18:20:00
#hour #truth #Irans #Attack #Israel #Affected #Aid #Ukraine

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