Johnson's $95B Foreign Aid Bill Gets Boost From Dems

In 'rare bipartisan' moment, House votes 316-94 to advance aid packages for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 19, 2024 10:43 AM CDT
Dems Help Push Johnson's Aid Bill Closer to Finish Line
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks on Capitol Hill on Wednesday in Washington.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

With rare bipartisan momentum, the House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, including for humanitarian support, as a coalition of lawmakers helped it clear a procedural hurdle to reach final votes this weekend. Friday's vote produced a seldom-seen outcome in the typically hyperpartisan House, with Democrats helping Republican Speaker Mike Johnson's plan advance 316-94. Final House approval could come this weekend, when the package would be sent to the Senate, per the AP. It was a victory for the strategy Johnson set in motion this week after he agonized for two months over the legislation.

Still, Johnson has had to spend the past 24 hours making the rounds on conservative media working to salvage support for the wartime funding, particularly for Ukraine as it faces a critical moment battling Russia, but also for his own job as the restless right flank threatens to oust him over the effort. "There's a lot of misinformation about what we're doing here and why," Johnson told the conservative host of The Mark Levin Show. "Ukrainians desperately need lethal aid right now. ... We cannot allow Vladimir Putin to roll through another country and take it," he added. "These are very serious matters with global implications."

After months of delay, the House worked slowly but deliberately once Johnson made up his mind this week to move ahead. President Biden sent a swift endorsement of the speaker's plan and, in a rare moment, Donald Trump, who opposes most overseas aid for Ukraine, hasn't derailed the speaker's work. "The world is watching what the Congress does," the White House said in a statement. "Passing this legislation would send a powerful message about the strength of American leadership at a pivotal moment." Johnson will need to rely on Democrats again Friday to clear the next procedural vote and turn back amendments Republicans have offered that could kill the package. One from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, for example, would reduce spending for Ukraine to zero. More here.

(More foreign aid stories.)

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