Foreign Aid Bills Advance From House To Senate

A $95 billion package of foreign aid—the majority for Ukraine and Israel—made it through the United States House of Representatives over the weekend with strong bipartisan support.

Monday, April 22nd 2024, 5:25 pm



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A $95 billion package of foreign aid—the majority for Ukraine and Israel—made it through the United States House of Representatives over the weekend with strong bipartisan support. The Oklahoma delegation mostly, but not entirely, supported the legislation.

The aid package came from the Senate in February as one bill, but Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA), in response to various demands, especially related to the Ukraine aid, ultimately decided to bring it to the House floor in four separate bills.

"Pulling them apart and putting them forward individually, I think, gives members the option to support the things they can and oppose the things they cannot," said an approving Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (R-OK5) in an interview last week before the bills came to the floor.

With an increasing number of conservative Republicans opposed to additional funding for Ukraine and some liberal Democrats wanting conditions on aid to Israel, a single bill would likely have been more difficult to pass.

Instead, the House voted individually on the following bills:

HR 8034 – $26 billion Israel/Humanitarian Aid

(Passed 366-58)

               HR 8035 – $60.8 billion Ukraine Aid

(Passed 311-112)

               HR 8036 -- $8.1 billion Indo-Pacific Aid

(Passed 385-34)

               HR 8038 – Sanctions/TikTok Ban

(Passed 360-58)

Only the Ukraine aid bills had more than a hundred no votes, and all of those came from Republicans, like Oklahoma's Kevin Hern.

“We have no business sending tens of billions of dollars to Ukraine while doing absolutely nothing to end the crisis on our own Southern border," Hern (R-OK1) said in a statement following the vote.

Rep. Hern voted yes, however, on the other three measures. Representatives Frank Lucas (R-OK3), Tom Cole (R-OK4) and Bice each voted yes on all four measures, while Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-OK2) voted yes only on the aid to Israel.

"We can’t continue to fund things we have no dollars for," Rep. Brecheen said in an interview last week. "Our discretionary budget was 100 percent borrowed money last year -- we’re talking about money taken from the future of our kids."

Brecheen had urged Speaker Johnson not to bring Ukraine aid to the floor at all, while others on the right went further, threatening to oust him if he did.

A motion to vacate the speakership is now a real possibility, frustrating many Republicans who don't want to see a repeat of the chaos last fall after Kevin McCarthy was removed as Speaker.

"I will tell you that Oklahomans back home tell me that they’re tired of it; they want us to govern," Bice said. "I believe a motion to vacate the speaker is a dangerous and really bad idea."

The House is off this week, so any attempt to remove Johnson from the Speakership will have to wait. In the meantime, the aid bills have been sent to the Senate, where they are expected to be approved, likely on Wednesday.

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