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Johnson to put on floor Ukraine aid bill on April 20, Biden promises to sign it immediately

18 April, 2024 Thursday
10:59

House Speaker Mike Johnson will put the US bill, which includes aid to Ukraine, to a vote on Saturday, April 20. US President Joe Biden promised to sign the document immediately

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CNN reports this.

It is noted that Johnson faced significant pressure “from hardliners.”

The Speaker of the House of Representatives says he is sticking to his plan to bring forward a number of foreign aid bills, including funding for Ukraine, after facing significant pressure.

"Johnson said in a note to members that they will vote on these Saturday evening," CNN writes.

"With Republicans only controlling the House by a razor-thin margin, Johnson may need Democrats to pass the foreign aid bills – and save his job should the motion to vacate come to the floor," the article concludes.

What does the US aid package include?

The House of Representatives has published the text of a draft law that provides nearly $61 billion in aid to Ukraine.

According to the bill, after it comes into force, US President Joe Biden is to transfer ATACMS missiles to Ukraine as soon as possible.

However, if the head of the White House decides that the provision of long-range missile systems will threaten the national security and interests of his country, he can withhold this decision.

Ukraine's Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, has released details of a bill to support Ukraine.

Defense expenditures in the amount of $49.9 billion are envisaged:

  • $23.2 billion - replenishment of defense goods and services provided to Ukraine;

  • $11.3 billion - ongoing US operations in the region;

  • $13.8 billion for the purchase of modern defense systems, defense goods, and services;

  • $1.6 billion in foreign military financing (FMF) to meet the needs of Ukraine and other regional partners.

In addition, funding is provided:

  • $26 million to ensure oversight and accountability of aid and equipment provided to Ukraine;

  • $5 million to the State Department to administer defense assistance;

  • $300 million to help Ukraine secure its borders and promote the rule of law;

  • $100 million to support mine action, counterterrorism, and nonproliferation programs;

The $9.5 billion is earmarked for economic assistance to Ukraine and countries affected by Russia's invasion of Ukraine:

  • $7.849 billion - for economic assistance to Ukraine, which may include direct budget support (except for pension reimbursement);

  • $1.575 billion for other types of economic assistance to Ukraine and the affected countries;

  • $25 million - for the USAID Office of Transition Initiatives to support Ukraine and countries affected by the Russian invasion;

  • $50 million to respond to the global food security situation.

Allocations are also provided:

  • $149 million to the US National Nuclear Security Administration to respond to nuclear safety situations in Ukraine;

  • $481 million to the US Department of Health and Human Services to help Ukrainians who received a humanitarian passport to the United States through the U4U program.

The draft law provides for additional funding to assist Ukraine and respond to the situation related to the Russian invasion, among other things:

  • $60 million for diplomatic programs;

  • $8 million for the Office of the Inspector General of the State Department;

  • $39 million - for USAID operating expenses;

  • 10 million - for the USAID Office of Inspector General;

  • $98 million to the US Department of Energy for the purchase of radioactive isotopes for development and production.

The text also strengthens oversight through monitoring requirements; requires partners and allies to provide cost-compensated assistance; provides for an agreement with the government of Ukraine on the return of funds provided for economic support; and increases the limits under the PDA mechanism.

At the same time, the draft law stipulates that no later than 60 days after the law comes into force, Biden must sign an agreement with the Ukrainian government on the return of the funds provided.

Joe Biden's reaction

US President Joe Biden promised to support Johnson's bills on aid to Ukraine and Israel.

“I strongly support this package…Ukraine is facing continued bombardment from Russia that has intensified dramatically in the last month. The House must pass the package this week and the Senate should quickly follow. I will sign this into law immediately to send a message to the world: We stand with our friends, and we won’t let Iran or Russia succeed,” the statement reads.

  • On April 13, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene said that Speaker Johnson plans to pressure members of Congress to pass the bill with the help of Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.
  • After a secret meeting on the situation in Ukraine on April 16, representatives of the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee called on Congress to immediately vote to help Kyiv, as the situation is critical.
  • On April 17, Republican Thomas Massie, who opposes aid to Ukraine, joined Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene in calling for the resignation of House Speaker Mike Johnson.
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