House PASSES massive $95 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel that could BAN TikTok and also get Speaker Mike Johnson fired

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Written By Maya Cantina

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Speaker Mike Johnson risked his political career to shepherd through over $60 billion in Ukrainian aid on the House floor on Saturday as part of a $95 billion aid package for U.S. allies. 

The package in total gives $26 billion to Israel, $60.8 billion to Ukraine and $8 billion to the Indo-Pacific through a combination of military and humanitarian aid. 

The package consisting of three separate aid bills was voted on alongside a fourth ‘side car’ that includes a potential TikTok ban and a vehicle to repurpose seized Russian assets for Ukraine. 

The bill providing cash for Kyiv – by far the most contentious of the day and the one Johnson could lost his job over – passed 311 to 112.

‘We would rather send bullets to the conflict overseas than our own boys, our troops,’ Johnson insisted after the vote. 

The Israel aid bill passed 366 to 58, with opposition largely consisting of progressives who wanted the aid conditioned on a ceasefire.  

The House passed a foreign aid package that has been a thorn in Speaker Mike Johnson’s side for months. The Senate originally passed a similar version of the measure in February  

Democrats and a small handful of Republicans waved Ukrainian flags on the House floor during the vote and cheered as it passed. They were reminded ‘it is a violation of decorum to wave flags on the floor.’ 

The side car bill passed 360 to 58, with an amendment that requires Treasury to submit a support on Iranian assets and sanction exemptions. 

The Indo-Pacific bill, to offer military aid to Taiwan against a fast-encroaching China, passed 385-34, with 34 Republicans voting against it and one Democrat, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Mich., voting ‘present.’ 

President Joe Biden praised passage of the foreign aid package: ‘Today, members of both parties in the House voted to advance our national security interests and send a clear message about the power of American leadership on the world stage.’ 

‘It comes at a moment of grave urgency, with Israel facing unprecedented attacks from Iran, and Ukraine under continued bombardment from Russia,’ he went on. ‘I urge the Senate to quickly send this package to my desk so that I can sign it into law and we can quickly send weapons and equipment to Ukraine to meet their urgent battlefield needs.’ 

The vote comes days after CIA Director Bill Burns warned that Ukraine would lose its war with Russia by the end of the year if the U.S. failed to send additional military support.  

The weekend vote is expected to trigger conservative rabble rousers, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who has set in motion a process to remove Johnson. 

Johnson said on Saturday he doesn’t ‘walk around worried’ about a motion to vacate because he’s got a ‘job to do.’ 

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Whether she makes good on her threat, which is being supported by two other GOP members, remains to be seen. 

Still, her opposition did not shake Johnson, who said earlier in the week ‘If Marjorie [Taylor Greene] brings the motion, she brings the motion and let the chips fall where they may.’

The bills are being sent together as one package for one up-or-down vote to the Senate next week. 

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., became the third Republican to announce his support for a motion to vacate Johnson on Friday, citing outrage over Johnson putting money for Ukraine’s ‘purposeless’ fight against Russia on the House floor without border security measures attached. 

Republicans are down to a one-seat margin after the departure of Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., from Congress. Johnson would need to rely on Democrats to survive a vote on the motion to vacate. 

And not all of the House’s rightward flank is on board with ousting the speaker. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., suggested on his podcast Friday that someone in his party might be ‘bribed’ to allow Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries to become speaker. 

‘I do believe in a one seat majority, there could be one or two or three of my colleagues who would take a bribe in one form or another in order to deprive the Republicans of having a majority at all.’ 

He went on: The risk that one or two of my corrupt Republican colleagues might take a bribe, take a walk, feign an ailment and flip this thing to the Democrats is a risk that is too high for me.’

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, another Florida hardliner and Johnson opponent, also voiced her opposition to the motion. 

‘I do not like or support what Mike Johnson has doing and I think that he has absolutely gone back on what He promised us. But at this time, that is no kidding, a possibility. And as a result of that, I’m hoping that that doesn’t move forward.’ 

The Ukraine bill includes $23 billion for replenishing U.S. stockpiles that have been depleted for the fight in Russia. 

Some $11 billion would go to U.S. military operations in the region and $14 billion would go to procuring advanced weapons systems. 

Another $26 million would go to oversight and accountability of equipment given to Ukraine.

Two separate economic assistance funds worth $7.85 billion and $1.58 billion would also be offered to Ukraine under a loan structure. 

The president has wide authority over the terms of the loan, and could forgive half of it after November 15, 2024 and half after January 1, 2026.

An amendment from Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., the only Ukrainian-born U.S. lawmaker, to remove the humanitarian aid provisions from the bill roundly failed on the floor. 

The Israel security bill will offer $4 billion to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense system and billions more for weapons systems, artillery and munitions, as well as an additional $2.4 billion for U.S. operations in the region.

Nine billion dollars in that bill goes to humanitarian relief for Palestinians in Gaza.

A fourth bill includes several measures such as requiring TikTok divest from its Chinese-owned parent company ByteDance, an effort to obtain seized Russian assets and a lend-lease program for military aid to Ukraine.

The House already passed a bill to force ByteDance to divest TikTok, but the new catch-all legislation would give TikTok a year rather than six months to separate itself from China. 

Attaching the measure to the foreign aid will force the Senate to vote on it, after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has dragged his feet in putting it on the Senate floor. 

The so-called ‘side car’ bill also includes a provision involving the REPO Act, meaning it would seize Russian assets that until now have only been frozen and repurpose them for Ukraine, and one that would involve the Lend-Lease Act, which would require Ukraine to give back U.S. military assets that are not destroyed in war.

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, delivered a fierce speech on the floor ahead of the vote on the side car.

‘The world is watching. Our adversaries are watching. And history will judge us by our actions here today,’ he said.

‘As we deliberate on this vote – you have to ask yourself this question. Am I Chamberlain or Churchill?’

A man carries items on his back as people remove possessions from their homes following Israeli airstrikes. The foreign aid funding package would include money for Israel's missile defenses among other military priorities

A man carries items on his back as people remove possessions from their homes following Israeli airstrikes. The foreign aid funding package would include money for Israel’s missile defenses among other military priorities

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly requested that Congress approve supplemental funding for his countries ongoing war against Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly requested that Congress approve supplemental funding for his countries ongoing war against Russia

Johnson noted much of the bill is not going directly to any country but is going to backfill U.S. stockpiles that have been depleted for Ukraine and Israel. 

The U.S. was heavily involved in defending Israel against Iran’s 300 missile strikes last week.

In an olive branch to conservative hardliners, Johnson announced a vote on a border security bill with components of the already-passed, conservative H.R. 2 border bill.

That includes the immediate construction of a border wall, asylum restrictions and the Remain in Mexico policy under Trump, but the vote is expected to fail.

Members and allies of the right-wing Freedom Caucus were mad that Johnson said he would not secure Ukraine’s border before securing the U.S. border, but now walked back that promise.

Johnson has suggested securing the border is largely an executive authority that relies on President Biden.

Intelligence officials, meanwhile, have been warning members of Congress of Ukraine’s urgent need for U.S. aid. CIA Director Bill Burns warned Thursday that Ukraine ‘could lose on the battlefield by the end of 2024.’ 

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., filed a motion to vacate the speaker nearly a month ago. She previously warned Speaker Johnson not to put up foreign aid funding for a vote without attaching border security measures, which he did on Saturday

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., filed a motion to vacate the speaker nearly a month ago. She previously warned Speaker Johnson not to put up foreign aid funding for a vote without attaching border security measures, which he did on Saturday

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., has called on Speaker Johnson to resign to avoid being removed

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., has called on Speaker Johnson to resign to avoid being removed

On Friday, McCaul told reporters that classified intelligence briefings about Ukraine had a ‘big impact’ in influencing Johnson’s decision to bring the foreign aid up for a vote.

Democrats offered Johnson rare praise for what they deemed ‘doing the right thing’ and bringing the aid bills to the floor, despite what it could do to his career.

‘I don’t agree with the speaker on anything politically, but I also think he’s got integrity,’ Himes told DailyMail.com after the rule vote. ‘I think that he’s sort of stepped up to be a leader.’

Johnson for months resisted White House calls to bring Ukraine aid to the House floor, hesitant in knowing that doing so could result in his firing. 

Now, his days could be numbered. But he’s been spared at least another week: the motion was not called up on Saturday and the House leaves for a two-week recess after the aid votes. 

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