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US House to vote on long-delayed Ukraine, Israel aid

The US House of Representatives will consider aid to Israel and Ukraine as separate legislation this week, Republican Speaker Mike Johnson said, more than two months after the Senate passed a bill combining the two.

Leaving a meeting of House Republicans yesterday evening, Mr Johnson said the narrowly divided chamber would consider four bills altogether that would also include aid to Taiwan, US allies in the Indo-Pacific and US national security priorities.

“We know that the world is watching us to see how we react,” Mr Johnson told reporters. “They’re watching to see if America will stand up for its allies and in our own interest around the globe. And we will.”

US aid has been delayed by Mr Johnson’s unwillingness to consider a $95 billion bipartisan bill the Senate passed in February, including $14 billion for Israel as well as $60 billion for Ukraine.

Also included were billions to strengthen allies in the Indo-Pacific, where China is becoming more assertive, and for international humanitarian aid.

Mr Johnson said the new House bills provide roughly the same amount of foreign aid as the Senate bill but would include differences including some aid in the form of a loan.

Republicans aim to release legislative text as early this morning but will observe a 72-hour review period before voting. Mr Johnson said votes on passage could come late on Friday.

Ukraine has grown increasingly frustrated at delays in Western aid

Mr Johnson had previously opposed a standalone vote on Ukraine aid, demanding first that Democratic President Joe Biden crack down on illegal border crossings.

His sudden about-face comes after an unprecedented attack by Iran targeting Israel over the weekend, after which he pledged a prompt show of US support.

Earlier in the day, the White House ruled out any bill that only contained aid for Israel.

“We will not accept a standalone. A standalone would not help Israel and Ukraine,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a briefing.

Far-right opposition

One of the four bills to be voted on this week, according to US media reports, would be a package of provisions including a possible US ban on TikTok as well as allowing the sale of assets seized from Russians after the Ukraine invasion.

Mr Johnson is walking a knife-edge on aid for Ukraine, as Donald Trump and far-right politicians in the House of Representatives have grown sceptical of pouring billions of dollars into Kyiv’s fight against Russia’s invading forces.

Ukraine has in recent months grown increasingly frustrated at delays in Western aid, including air defences it says are urgently needed to repel Russian attacks.

Donald Trump has said US House Speaker Mike Johnson is ‘doing a very good job’

Mr Johnson, who rose from obscurity to take the gavel in October, continues to face a bid to oust him by far-right firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene, who opposed any compromise with democrats.

After a meeting of republicans in which Mr Johnson presented his legislative plan, Ms Greene told reporters she was “firmly against the plan as it stands right now.”

When asked if she was angered enough to pull the trigger on a procedural motion to force a vote on removing Mr Johnson from his post, she said she was still undecided.

However, she said: “He’s definitely not going to be speaker next Congress if we’re lucky enough to have the majority.”

Mr Johnson, for his part, said: “I don’t spend my time worrying about motions to vacate.”

He won Mr Trump’s much-valued backing on Friday after travelling to meet with the republican presidential candidate in Florida.

“It’s not an easy situation for any speaker,” Mr Trump said at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate, adding he thinks Mr Johnson is doing “a very good job.”

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