May 21, 2024

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US Congress House of Representatives adopts major aid package for Ukraine

US Congress  House of Representatives adopts major aid package for Ukraine

(WASHINGTON) After long and difficult negotiations, the US House of Representatives on Saturday adopted a major aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, backed by elected officials from both parties.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose country is at war with Russia, immediately welcomed the aid, which would “save thousands and thousands of lives”.

Photo courtesy of Ukraine Presidential Press Service, Agence France-Presse

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted back-to-back on the massive $95 billion package sought by President Joe Biden for months.

Text on Ukraine offers 61 billion to come to Kiev's aid against Russia; This includes billions of dollars in Israel to strengthen the Israeli anti-missile shield known as the “Iron Dome”.

Screenshot C-Span

311 delegates voted in favor of the Ukrainian aid package.

US elected officials also voted in a speech to stand up to China and help Taiwan, and adopted a measure to issue an ultimatum to TikTok, which offers to ban use in the US unless the social network cuts its ties. Parent company ByteDance, and more broadly with China.

At Hemicycle, members of parliament waved Ukrainian flags as a sign of support for Kyiv, much to the pride of Trumpist elected officials.

The Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, indicated that the texts should be quickly examined by the Senate, which could consider the measures as early as Tuesday.

Photo by Ken Cedeno, Reuters Archives

Senate President Chuck Schumer

It was the result of months of intense negotiations, visits and trips by the Ukrainian president to Washington, and pressure from allies around the world.

Confrontation between Biden and Trump

Photo by Patrick Semansky, Associated Press Archives

Donald Trump and Joe Biden

At the heart of all the tensions: financing the war in Ukraine.

The United States is Kevin's main military backer, but Congress hasn't passed a major package to its ally in nearly a year and a half — largely because of partisan infighting.

Democratic President Joe Biden and his party in Congress are very supportive of new aid to Ukraine in its war with Russia.

But Republicans, led by Donald Trump, are reluctant to fund a conflict.

In the middle of an election year, the issue has become a distant battle between two presidential candidates.

After months of delays, House Republican Speaker Mike Johnson backed a $61 billion package for Ukraine.

“To put it bluntly: I'd rather send ammunition to Ukraine than send our boys to fight,” he implored with little emotion during a press conference.

This aid program — primarily military and economic aid — authorizes President Biden to seize and sell Russian assets used to finance the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Israel, Gaza, TikTok

Other parts of the grand plan: $13 billion in military aid to Israel, America's historic ally in the war with Hamas.

According to a summary of the text, more than nine billion dollars are earmarked “to respond to the urgent need for humanitarian assistance in Gaza and other vulnerable populations around the world.”

As requested by Joe Biden, the bill allocates $8 billion to militarily stand up to China and come to the aid of Taiwan.

He also anticipates threats to ban TikTok in the US.

The video site has been accused of allowing Beijing to spy on and manipulate its 170 million users in the US.

Johnson, in the ejection seat

Photo by J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson

The Biden administration said it was “very supportive” of all of these measures.

The president's spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre, indicated on Friday that US aid flows to Ukraine would resume “immediately” after the text was adopted by both houses of Congress.

Acceptance of this envelope would allow America's allies to breathe a sigh of relief.

But, on the other hand, it could cost Republican President Mike Johnson his job: some conservative elected officials who are staunchly opposed to helping Ukraine have vowed to do everything to remove the “speaker” to punish him for his support. .

His predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, was already fired last year after a revolt by his party's Trump wing, which accused him of a “secret deal” with Democrats in Ukraine.

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