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Congress Passes Crucial Foreign Aid Package to Help Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan 

Written by Eliza Dorton

Edited by Queenie Lin and Annika Lilja



On April 20, 2024, the House of Representatives passed a $95 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson essentially risked his position as leader of the House Republican caucus in order to approve the package because the far-right members of the GOP did not support funding for Ukraine. Any member of Congress has the ability to make a “motion to vacate,” which is a motion to remove the speaker from office, bringing about this threat to Speaker Johnson’s position. The package garnered the support of most Democrats and Republicans, the latter barring the House Freedom Caucus. The vote passed the House with 311-112. 


The package centered around bipartisan support for Ukraine in the wake of strong efforts from Russia in the Russia-Ukraine War. While some Republicans believe in sending funds to Ukraine, like Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, many members of the GOP are pro-Russia, and Johnson once again put his position of power on the line to ensure the aid package passed. According to the New York Times, the package had “$60 billion for Kyiv; $26 billion for Israel and humanitarian aid for civilians in conflict zones, including Gaza; and $8 billion for the Indo-Pacific region." It is clear through the news that Ukraine has struggled to fight recently against the ever-powerful Russia, and US support will help Ukraine’s defense. 


On April 23, 2024, the Senate passed the package in a 79-18 vote and sent it to President Biden. After signing, Biden stated that the US would begin the process of sending weapons to Ukraine. The package was long overdue, as it has taken months due to controversy on how the US should take part in foreign wars. 


The funds for Israel were also directed at humanitarian aid for Gaza, while the funds for Taiwan were meant to counter threats from the Indo-Pacific and China. The United States has major stakes in what happens in all of these regions, especially Ukraine. Putting aside the geopolitical advantage Russia could have if they were to defeat Ukraine, Russia is a main competitor of the US, so it is crucial that the US takes action to help smaller countries fight off global superpowers such as China and Russia. 


Three congressional leaders, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker Johnson, worked together on this legislation to ensure the US would support its allies because there could be, as AP News stated, “dire consequences for the United States and many of its global allies if Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression is left unchecked.” The stakes for Ukraine were just too high because without the aid, they are much weaker in the face of Russian aggression. Most of Congress understood the ramifications of not giving aid, such as sending a signal to other Eastern European countries not to fight back against Russia.


 

Sources:


Edmondson, Catie. "House Approves $95 Billion Aid Bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan." The New York Times, 20 Apr. 2024, www.nytimes.com/2024/04/20/us/politics/house-foreignaidbill.html#:~:text=Get%20it%20sent%20to%20your,from%20mainstream%20Republicans%20and%20Democrats. Accessed 29 Apr. 2024.


Jalonick, Mary Clare, et al. "Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan with Big Bipartisan Vote." AP News, apnews.com/article/israel-ukraine-aid-tiktok-senate-8fe738b17e5c4b2636bc0de11b2620b7#. Accessed 29 Apr. 2024.


Williams, Michael, et al. "Biden Signs Foreign Aid Bill Providing Crucial Military Assistance to Ukraine." CNN, www.cnn.com/2024/04/24/politics/biden-signs-foreign-aid-bill/index.html. Accessed 29 Apr. 2024.

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