US Congress sets stage for vote on Ukraine funding

With help from the Democrats, the Republican speaker is set to put the $60 billion bill to a vote

The US House of Representatives introduced a rule on Friday that would allow the vote for a $95 billion foreign aid bill, including $60 billion earmarked for the government in Kiev. 

Requested by President Joe Biden last October, the funding proposal has languished in the House for months due to objections from a faction of the Republican majority. Friday saw 165 Democrats and only 151 Republicans vote in favor of the rule change, fueling fury against Speaker Mike Johnson.

According to the Washington Post, the issue of Ukraine funding has “deeply divided a dysfunctional” Republican Party.

Congressman Michael Burgess of Texas, who chairs the Rules Committee, said he regretted not having border security in the package of bills but that “the requirement for America to assert itself as the leader of the free world is not optional, it’s not a requirement we can put on pause.”

His party colleague, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, that the Republican leadership is “fighting tooth and nail to pass Democrat, America Last priorities.”

“Washington needs to stop shoveling money to Ukraine while our own borders are wide open,” complained Congressman Andy Ogles, a Tennessee Republican.

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has filed a motion to oust Speaker Mike Johnson over the rule change. It has been by Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Paul Gosar of Arizona. 

Johnson became speaker last October after the House Freedom Caucus, the same group now opposed to Ukraine funding, ousted Kevin McCarthy over a secret deal with Democrats to fund Kiev.

The Louisiana Republican plans to put the Ukraine funding bill up for a vote on Saturday. If adopted, it would go back to the Senate for approval before it can be signed into effect by Biden. 

While some of the $60 billion would go to pay the salaries of Ukrainian government officials, much would end up in the pockets of US weapons manufacturers. About 20% of the funding would be restructured as a loan, but with the provision that Biden can write it off after November 15.