House Passes $95 Billion Foreign Aid Package, Bill That Could Ban TikTok
House Passes $95 Billion Foreign Aid Package, Bill That Could Ban TikTok

By Jackson Richman and Joseph Lord

The House of Representatives has passed legislation that would give financial assistance to American partners in the Indo-Pacific, Ukraine, and Israel, in addition to a bill that includes measures such as forcing Chinese divestment of TikTok.

This comes as House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) faces growing discontent among conservatives over the package, particularly the billions in funding for Ukraine and its lack of border security measures.

The House passed the $61 billion aid package for Ukraine in a 311–112 vote. The measure providing for Indo-Pacific and Taiwanese security passed in a 385–34 vote. Another bill funding Israel passed 366–58. The bill wrapping together a TikTok ban and allowing for the seizure of Russian assets passed in a 360–58 vote.

Democrats cheered on the floor after Ukraine assistance passed, waving Ukrainian flags and chanting “Ukraine, Ukraine,” at which point they were chastised by Mr. Johnson for violating House rules on decorum.

Now that it’s been passed by the House, the legislation will go to the Senate as a single package, where it’s expected to easily pass.

President Joe Biden has expressed support for the package, and urged the Senate to swiftly send it to his desk.

President Biden said of the legislation that members of both parties “came together to answer history’s call, passing urgently needed national security legislation that I have fought for months to secure.”

Just before authorizing passage of the four-part foreign aid and geopolitical security package, the House blocked a bill that would have strengthened border security amid an unprecedented crisis along the southern border.

On Friday, Democrats stepped in to help advance the package on the House floor in a 316–94 vote. While these so-called rules votes typically advance along party lines, Republicans have increasingly used them to protest against leadership. Fifty-five Republicans voted against the rule.

Democrat help was needed again to pass each bill, which will be merged into a single package before being sent to the Senate.

Mr. Johnson said after the Friday vote that while it wasn’t “perfect legislation,” it was the “best possible product” Republicans could get given their thin majority in the House.

Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.), who opposed the advancement of the rule yesterday, argued that it was wrong for the United States to be securing the borders of other nations amid the ongoing crisis at the southern border with Mexico.

“We’re sending $300 million for the state border guard services of Ukraine … yet won’t spend the same kind of money here to secure our own border,” Ms. Hageman said.

She called the legislation, “a parade of horribles that is absolutely a terrible bill for terrible policy, spending money that we don’t have.”

Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) argued that Mr. Johnson should have put a clean Israel bill on the floor and attached a “Remain in Mexico” policy requirement to Ukraine legislation.

“Instead what we have is something that’s going to further divide the Republican conference and … just make it harder as we go forward,” Mr. Ogles said.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), meanwhile, has spoken in favor of the legislation, blaming “pro-Putin MAGA extremists like Marjorie Taylor Greene” for “placing … the American people’s national security interests on hold.

“It’s long past time we support our democratic allies in Israel, Ukraine, and the Indo-Pacific,” Mr. Jeffries said, praising his party for “clear[ing] the way” for the rule to pass, which all but guarantees passage of the final bill later today.

The Ukraine bill would give $60.84 billion to the Eastern European country, which has come under attack by Russia since February 2022. The bill 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.

The Israel bill would give $26.3 billion to the Jewish state amid its war with terror group 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.

This bill will be voted on just days after Israel’s reported retaliatory strikes on Iran that included attacks next to a nuclear facility and a military base. Iran had earlier launched strikes on Israel, nearly all of which were shot down by Israel, the United States, and allies, in retaliation for Israel’s suspected bombing of a diplomatic building in Syria.

The Indo-Pacific bill would give Taiwan and other regional allies $3.9 billion in direct military aid. This comes amid the Chinese regime’s growing aggression in the region.

A fourth bill includes numerous measures, including one that would ban TikTok unless its parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, divests the app over national security concerns—a revised version of a bill that the House overwhelmingly passed last month. ByteDance has ties to the Chinese Communist Party, and its leadership has previously affirmed a commitment to creating products that align with the regime’s communist values.

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

Pressure on Johnson

The rare Saturday vote on the foreign aid package comes as Mr. Johnson faces escalating pressure from the Republican conference that threatens his job.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) in March put forth a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair after the House passed a $1.2 trillion bill that Mr. Johnson put forth to fund most of the government.

She has since been joined by two Republicans: Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.).

Mr. Massie said that he told this to Mr. Johnson’s face during the House GOP’s weekly conference on April 16. He’s called on the speaker to resign rather than face a motion to vacate.

Mr. Massie’s switch on the issue comes one day after Mr. Johnson announced that the House would take up those four bills.

Mr. Johnson succeeded former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in October after the latter was ousted through a motion to vacate—the first time a speaker has been ousted that way.

In an April 19 statement obtained by The Epoch Times, Mr. Gosar lamented that Mr. Johnson is ceding the border issue in order to pass foreign aid after Mr. Johnson initially said that he would force Democrats to cede border policies in exchange for Ukraine aid.

“Rather than spending the resources to secure our southern border and combating the invasion of 11 million illegals and despite repeated promises there would be no additional money going to Ukraine without first securing our border, the United States House of Representatives, under the direction of the speaker, is on the verge of sending another $61 billion to further draw America into an endless and purposeless war in Ukraine,” Mr. Gosar said.

“Our border cannot be an afterthought,” he continued. “We need a speaker who puts America first rather than bending to the reckless demands of the warmongers, neo-cons, and the military-industrial complex making billions from a costly and endless war half a world away.”

Other Republicans are also growing increasingly frustrated with the embattled speaker.

Asked whether she would support a motion to vacate, Ms. Hageman didn’t rule it out.

“I don’t know the answer to that right now,” the Wyoming Republican said. “But I’m pretty angry.”

These public statements of opposition to Mr. Johnson remaining speaker suggest that he’s in the most precarious situation he’s been in since taking the gavel in October.

However, there are Democrats—including Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.)— who have said they would come to Mr. Johnson’s rescue if the motion is brought to the House floor.

Mr. Jeffries has also indicated that “there are a reasonable number of Democrats who would not want to see the speaker fall for doing the right thing.”

Still, the odds are higher than they’ve ever been that Mr. Johnson will face a motion to vacate as the issue of Ukraine aid continues to divide the conference.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

USNN World News (USNN) USNN World News Corporation is a media company consisting of a series of sites specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information, local,...