New GOP Foreign Aid Package Proposes Nearly $61 Billion in Aid for Ukraine

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
April 18, 2024Congress
New GOP Foreign Aid Package Proposes Nearly $61 Billion in Aid for Ukraine
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) does an interview with CNN at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on April 17, 2024. (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

House Republicans on Wednesday released the text of a series of bills providing foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan but the measures have already sparked criticism among conservatives over their alleged failure to address national security concerns and increasing immigration at the southern border.

The foreign aid bills total $95 billion and align spending levels with the foreign aid national security package that passed the Senate in February but which House Speaker Mike Johnson declined to take up in the House.

The latest measures—which come following months of back and forth between lawmakers on both sides of the aisle—carve out roughly $61 billion for Ukraine amid its ongoing invasion by Russian forces, and roughly $26 billion for Israel, along with $8.12 billion for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific.

More notably, the Ukraine measures are aimed at ensuring the money is spent as planned after Republican lawmakers cited concerns over the increasing amount of taxpayer money being sent to the nation while the war rages on.

Specifically, the Ukraine measures include weapons and assistance for Ukrainian forces, such as the long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems. It also ensures that U.S. allies pull their weight and meet U.S. cost-matching requirements for Ukraine aid.

It also states that some of the American aid to the country—nearly $10 billion—will be in the form of a repayable loan, albeit a forgivable one.

“At any time after November 15, 2024, the President may, subject to congressional review provided by section 508, cancel up to 50 percent of the total indebtedness incurred by Ukraine … with respect to economic assistance,” the bill reads. “The President may, subject to congressional review provided by section 508, cancel any remaining indebtedness to the government of Ukraine under this section at any time after January 1, 2026.”

TikTok Ban, Crackdown on Fentanyl

Nearly $8 billion of that money to Ukraine will be derived from the “Economic Support Fund,” while another $1.6 billion will be taken from “Assistance for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia,” according to the measure.

The measure would also allow for assets seized from Russian oligarchs and those with close ties to the Kremlin to be used by the U.S. government to help rebuild Ukraine and finance some of the package’s foreign aid.

Other measures introduced under the recent foreign aid packages focus on sanctioning Iran, protecting against money laundering in trade with Mexico, China, and Burma, quashing China’s fentanyl supply chain, and potentially banning or forcing the sale of the video-streaming app TikTok in the United States.

Mr. Johnson has for months said he would demand that any new funding to Ukraine would be tied to tougher border security protections amid the ongoing immigration crisis.

However, the latest measures have sparked criticism among some Conservatives who have accused him of failing to address their concerns regarding U.S. national security.

Some Republicans, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, and Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie have threatened to oust the House speaker, although Ms. Greene said she will not force a vote until the foreign aid bills were unveiled.

NTD Photo
Rep. Daniel Meuser (L), Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (C), and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) speak to one another at the U.S. Capitol, on April 11, 2024. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Johnson Defends Packages

The White House expressed its “strong support” for the latest measures in a statement on Wednesday after they were unveiled.

“I strongly support this package to get critical support to Israel and Ukraine, provide desperately needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, and bolster security and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” President Joe Biden said.

“Israel is facing unprecedented attacks from Iran, and Ukraine is facing continued bombardment from Russia that has intensified dramatically in the last month. The House must pass the package this week and the Senate should quickly follow,” he continued.

President Biden added that he intends to sign the foreign aid packages into law immediately in the hopes of sending a message to the world that America will “stand with our friends, and we won’t let Iran or Russia succeed.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Johnson also defended the packages, telling reporters on Wednesday evening that granting aid to Ukraine was “critically important” and that he believes the majority of his conservative colleagues will support the measures.

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

Last week, the State Department approved a potential emergency $38 million in foreign military sales to Ukraine to aid the nation in repairing its HAWK missile systems and to defend against Russian drone and cruise missile attacks.

Joseph Lord contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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