House Rules Committee Advances Bills Dealing with Ukraine, Israel

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By NTD Newsroom
April 19, 2024Congress
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House Rules Committee Advances Bills Dealing with Ukraine, Israel
The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington on March 24, 2024. (Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images)

The House Rules Committee advanced bills on April 18 that would give assistance to Israel, Ukraine, and the Indo-Pacific, in addition to a bill that includes a myriad of measures, such as forcing China to divest TikTok.

The final tally to bring to the House floor what is called a rule—which sets the parameters such as whether amendments can be offered and that is voted on before the House can proceed to the votes on the measures themselves—passed 9-3.

While the minority party normally votes against advancement, Democrats stepped in to pass the rule given three conservatives Reps. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), and Chip Roy (R-Texas) voted against it.

The legislation will next head for a so-called rules vote, which needs to be cleared before debate and votes on each separate bill. Final votes are expected to occur on Saturday. If passed, they will be packaged together and sent to the Senate.

It is likely that Democrats would again be needed to help advance the bills in the next procedural vote on the floor—which typically advance along party lines—given that Republicans can only afford two defections.

The Israel bill would give $26.3 billion to the Jewish state amid its coming under attack by Iran over the weekend and fighting Hamas, which launched its most recent attack on the Mideast country on Oct. 7, 2023, resulting in the largest single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. It would include $4 billion for the country’s missile defense systems, such as the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and the Iron Beam.

The Ukraine bill would give $60.84 billion to the Eastern European country, which has come under attack by Russia since February 2022; that would include $23.2 billion to renew both defense articles and services provided to Ukraine and $13.8 billion in assistance for Kyiv to purchase U.S. weapons and both defense services and articles.

An amendment that would have prohibited the transfer of cluster munitions from going to Ukraine failed 2-10.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a House Rules Committee member, lamented that when it comes to U.S. policy on Ukraine, there is “no clear authoritative path to victory” as there has been a crisis at the “wide open” southern border that has allowed “Chinese foreign nationals” coming across “and so forth.”

However, another committee member, Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-N.M.), remarked that “China, Iran, Russia are not our friends, they are our enemies. And when they attack our friends, we must stand with our allies.”

An amendment by Ms. Greene, a staunch opponent of giving aid to Ukraine, would require those who vote in favor of the bill to join the Ukrainian military.

Marjorie Taylor Greene R-ga
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) speaks to reporters outside of the U.S. Capitol Building after a vote on a funding bill that would avert a government shutdown in Washington on March 22, 2024. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Other amendments would prohibit aid for Ukraine until it forbids abortions, gives to the United States “all information related to Robert Hunter Biden and Burisma Holdings Limited,” and allocates money from the salary of lawmakers who support the bill toward Ukraine.

She has also offered amendments to reallocate the funding for Ukraine to address deporting illegal aliens, the Maui wildfires, and the East Palestine train derailment.

Mr. Biden, son of President Joe Biden, served on the board of that Ukrainian energy company when his father was vice president. He has come under fire from the GOP for allegedly financially benefiting from his dad’s vice presidency.

In response to Ms. Greene’s amendments, Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) brought forth an amendment to rename Ms. Greene’s congressional office the “Neville Chamberlain Room”—a reference to the former British prime minister who struck an appeasing deal with Adolf Hitler in 1938 that led to the Nazi leader taking the rest of Czechoslovakia, eventually going into Poland in 1939 and starting World War II.

Mr. Moskowitz also has an amendment for Ms. Greene to be appointed “Vladimir Putin’s Special Envoy to the United States Congress.”

Ms. Greene and Mr. Moskowitz’s amendments have virtually no chance of passage.

A third bill would give $8.12 billion toward the Indo-Pacific including $3.9 billion in direct military aid toward Taiwan and other regional allies. This comes amid the threat from China.

A fourth bill would include numerous measures—which have already been passed in the House as individual bills.

That measure would also ban TikTok unless its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, divests the app over national security concerns.

The bill would also enact sanctions against Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian terrorist groups. And it would enforce Iran-related sanctions.

Additionally, it would allow for frozen Russian assets to go toward Ukraine.

It also would apply the U.S. policy to enact and enforce sanctions against groups that use civilians as human shields to Palestine Islamic Jihad, which the United States has designated as a terrorist organization.

The bill would also sanction and impose visa restrictions on individuals involved in Syria’s captagon trade. Captagon is a widely illicit and deadly drug mass-produced in Syria, where Hezbollah has a strong presence and whose activities include drug trafficking. Captagon is a major source of revenue for the Syrian regime under Bashar al-Assad.

Not advanced by the House Rules Committee is a bill that would implement strict border provisions is stuck in limbo after the committee failed to pass a rule related to the measure. The GOP, along with a few Democrats, thwarted a Senate bill earlier this year that included border measures that the GOP deemed inadequate and that those Democrats deemed unfriendly toward immigration.

The GOP-controlled House passed a strict border bill last year that is stuck in the Democrat-controlled Senate, which is highly unlikely to bring up.

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Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) speaks to the press following a House Conference meeting to discuss Iran’s attack on Israel at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on April 15, 2024. (Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images)

These bills come as House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is in jeopardy of losing the gavel. Ms. Greene filed a motion to vacate earlier this month in response to him putting forth a $1.2 trillion bill to fund most of the government. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) announced this week he supports what is called a motion to vacate.

However, Mr. Johnson does not seem deterred.

“My philosophy is you do the right thing and you let the chips fall where they may. If I operated out of fear over a motion to vacate, I would never be able to do my job,” he told reporters on April 17.

“Look, history judges us for what we do. This is a critical time right now—a critical time on the world stage,” he continued. “I could make a selfish decision and do something that’s different, but I’m doing here what I believe to be the right thing.”

From The Epoch Times

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