$95 Billion Foreign War Bills Move Toward House Vote

A majority of Republicans voted against the Ukraine war funding bill

This story is now updated HERE with information about Saturday’s votes.

A massive military aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan has cleared a major hurdle in Congress and is headed for a floor vote as early as Saturday. House Speaker Mike Johnson has come under intense pressure from Democrats to advance the bills, and faces a revolt from within his own party as dissident Republicans threaten to oust him from his position.

A procedural vote to consider the aid package – composed of separate bills for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan worth a combined $95.3 billion – sailed through the House 316-94. The measure passed with bipartisan support, despite opposition from a group of Republicans.

The aid under consideration includes nearly $61 billion for Ukraine, $26 billion for Israel, and another $8 billion for Taiwan and other US partners in the Indo-Pacific. However, the Taiwan bill contains provisions that would allow the White House to simply redirect funds to Kiev, as noted by GOP Rep. Andy Ogles.

While Speaker Johnson previously refused to allow the legislation to proceed unless Democrats agreed to significant border reforms, he appears to have reversed course in recent days, drawing criticism from fellow Republicans.

“I’m concerned that the speaker’s cut a deal with the Democrats to fund foreign wars rather than secure our border,” said libertarian-leaning Rep. Thomas Massie, who has threatened to support a motion to remove Johnson from the speakership over the move.

Originally packaged together by the Democrat-led Senate, Johnson later split the House version into separate aid bills, none of which included the immigration reforms sought by his party. A fourth bill that would effectively ban the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform TikTok – as well as allow Washington to hand Kiev large sums of frozen Russian assets sitting in US bank accounts – is also up for consideration along with the aid.

“This was all precooked. It’s why President Biden and Chuck Schumer are praising it,” Republican Rep. Chip Roy said, suggesting the House speaker had worked behind the scenes with Democrats to advance the aid to a floor vote.

The White House and Democratic leadership have repeatedly urged the House to approve the aid, with President Biden stressing that nearly two-thirds of the Ukraine funds would go back into the US arms industry, effectively selling the bill as a jobs program.

Johnson has explained that while the Ukraine bill is not “perfect,” it is the “best possible product” given the GOP’s thin majority in the House. He defended the measure during a recent interview, insisting that “Ukrainians desperately need lethal aid right now.”

A number of Republican lawmakers led by Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene have threatened to remove Johnson from the speakership should he continue to ignore their concerns, with Greene filing a “motion to vacate” that has yet to be called up for a vote. Massie, as well as GOP Reps. Paul Gosar and Eli Crane, have also signaled support for the move.

Should the four separate bills pass, they would be “automatically stitched back together into a single package” for consideration in the Senate, according to the Associated Press. The upper chamber already passed an earlier version of the aid bill, suggesting the latest iteration would face little opposition once it clears the House.

Will Porter is assistant news editor at the Libertarian Institute and a regular contributor at Antiwar.com. Find more of his work at Consortium News and ZeroHedge.