Ukraine and Israel aid packages head for House vote in defiance of GOP far right

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to advance the process of passing a large foreign aid package before a final debate and vote set to take place on Saturday.

A bipartisan majority voted for the debate rule on four bills on sending aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, as well as a fourth bill on fresh sanctions on Iran, the seizure of Russian assets, and the possible banning of TikTok in the US.

The foreign aid package passed the procedural hurdle by a margin of 316 to 94.

A total of 165 Democrats chose to back the rule put forward by Republican Speaker Mike Johnson – 151 Republicans also voted in favour.

Thirty-nine Democrats and 55 Republicans voted against the measure.

The vote to advance the foreign aid package ahead of final passage comes after several days of Republican infighting between the party’s far-right, which opposes any further aid to Ukraine, and more moderate members.

On Thursday night, all of the Democrats on the Rules Committee voted to bring the rule to the floor, stepping in to bail out the speaker. Three rightwing Republicans, Reps Chip Roy, Ralph Norman, and Thomas Massie, voted against bringing the rule to the House for a full vote.

Hardright Republicans blasted the speaker on Friday.

“The question everyone should be asking is what deal did Speaker Johnson make with the Hakeem Jeffries to get the Democrats on the Rules Committee to vote for a Republican rule on the foreign war package which includes $60+ BILLION more to Ukraine? This never happens,” Georgia Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene wrote on X on Friday before the vote of the full House.

“We do not have a Republican majority anymore, our Republican Speaker is literally controlled by the Democrats and giving them everything they want,” she added.

“The last time the Democrats carried a Republican Speaker over the line on a Rule vote was McCarthy’s bad debt limit deal. Shouldn’t have happened then. Shouldn’t happen today,” Florida Rep Matt Gaetz wrote ahead of the vote.

The vote to consider the bill on the floor comes after the effort to get further aid to Ukraine has stalled for months. The House is now set to vote on the individual bills for foreign aid on Saturday. The vote on Friday revealed that the $95bn foreign aid package appears to have the support needed to pass.

Votes on rules for considering bills tend to be party-line affairs, but on Friday, more Democrats than Republicans ended up backing the rule. But it also showed that a majority within the House Republicans appear to back foreign aid in the face of hard pushback from conservative hardliners.

Getting past the procedural step on Friday was a massive step forward for the Biden administration’s longtime effort to fund Ukraine’s war effort as it struggles to hold back against the Russian onslaught.

The vote was a defeat for the isolationist forces within the Republican Party, led by former President Donald Trump, who blasted the idea of further US aid to Ukraine on Truth Social on Thursday.

“Why isn’t Europe giving more money to help Ukraine?” he asked. “Why is it that the United States is over $100 Billion Dollars into the Ukraine War more than Europe, and we have an Ocean between us as separation! Why can’t Europe equalize or match the money put in by the United States of America in order to help a Country in desperate need? As everyone agrees, Ukrainian Survival and Strength should be much more important to Europe than to us, but it is also important to us! GET MOVING EUROPE!”

Mr Johnson pushed ahead with the aid package over the objection of the rightwing of the party in the face of threats to oust him from the job.

Republicans who have announced their support for a motion to vacate the chair, the process which ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy last year, include Ms Greene, Mr Massie, and as of Friday, Rep Paul Gosar.

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