Congress has managed to approve aid for Israel and Ukraine, after months of blockade. The proposal presented by the president of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, has gone ahead. Now all that remains is for the $95 billion package to be voted on in the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said the upper chamber could hold its first vote Tuesday afternoon, according to the Washington Post, while Biden has already shown his support for the measure.

When it became known that the package for Ukraine had managed to move forward, the chamber began to applaud while some congressmen chanted “Ukraine, Ukraine.” It has been necessary to call order in order to continue with the vote on aid to Israel, which has been reserved for last to ensure that the Republicans would support the package for kyiv. If it had been in the reverse order, first Israel and then Ukraine, there was a risk that, once aid to Tel Aviv was approved, the Republicans would withdraw their support and leave the Democrats alone with Ukraine.

Aid for Ukraine has received 311 votes in favor and 112 against, with the majority of Republicans voting against – all 112 -. On the other hand, the package for Israel had 366 votes in favor against 58, while that for Taiwan had 385 votes in favor and 34 against. On the other hand, the project to strengthen national security (which could lead to the veto of TikTok) has had 360 votes in favor and 58 against.

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has shown his gratitude to the congressmen, and especially to Johnson. “Democracy and freedom will always be of global importance and will never fail as long as America helps protect them. The vital US aid that was approved today in Congress will prevent the war from expanding, save thousands and thousands of lives and help our nations grow stronger,” Zelensky said on the social network X (formerly Twitter).

Iran’s attack on Israel last Saturday spurred the speaker to put to a vote the aid that the Senate had already approved last February. Although really, what was voted today in the legislative chamber is a copy. In an attempt to circumvent not one, but two coalitions opposed to sending more money and weapons to Ukraine and Israel, Johnson has replicated the original Senate package, but has presented it in three different bills: one for Israel valued at more of 26 billion dollars, another for Ukraine of 61 billion and another of 8 billion for Indo-Pacific allies, such as Taiwan. Furthermore, the speaker has added a fourth additional package to strengthen national security that includes a potential veto for TikTok.

More money than expected for Israel

Israel’s package, which in the original Senate text only provided for $14 billion, has been expanded due to the need to support the country so that it can defend itself against attacks from Iran and its proxies. Thus, in total more than 26 billion will be sent to the Hebrew state. Of the total, $17 billion will go toward offensive and defensive weapons, while $9 billion has also been added to send humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The 17 billion to finance the Tel Aviv war are divided into 4 billion for the Iron Dome and the missile defense system and 1.2 billion dollars for the Iron Beam, which is used to shoot down short-range rockets. Another $4.4 billion will be used to replace defense items and services already given to Israel and $3.5 billion will be used to obtain weapons and other items.

Apart from the Republican sector most sympathetic to Trump that has dedicated all this time to dynamiting the approval of aid for Ukraine, this Saturday the criticism of the Democratic wing that is opposed to continuing to arm Tel Aviv as long as it continues with the brutal offensive against Gaza, which has already claimed more than 34,000 lives. “Netanyahu has used American weapons to kill indiscriminately and force thousands of innocent people to starve,” said Democrat Joaquín Castro during the debate prior to the vote: “Are we going to participate in that carnage? I say no”.

The necessary help for Ukraine

The unlocking of the $61 billion for Ukraine comes just when defensive ammunition to protect cities begins to become scarce. In the Russian attack on the Trypilska power plant on Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on PBS NewsHour that they couldn’t stop all the projectiles because “we ran out of missiles.” Russia fired 11 missiles, but Ukrainian forces were only able to shoot down the first seven.

To calm the anger of the most conservative sectors of the Republicans, the approved project specifies that a part of these 60 billion dollars for Ukraine will be delivered through loans. This condition was not in the initial text approved by the Senate.

The package provides $23 billion to replenish American weapons, arsenals and facilities, as well as more than $11 billion to finance American operations in the region. The remaining 14 billion have to be used so that Ukraine can purchase advanced weapons systems and other defense equipment. When on Friday the House of Representatives voted in favor of voting on aid this Saturday, the Pentagon warned that they were ready to “quickly” send the supplies that Ukraine needs. General Pat Ryder avoided assuming that the project would be approved and clarified that the Pentagon is “focused” on being able to get the help that Kiev needs, both in the short and long term.

The support of the United States is key for the Ukrainian resistance to move forward. Recently, Zelensky already recognized that without Washington’s help they could not win the war. The last package that the Pentagon could send was an extraordinary aid of 300 million dollars that they took from the “savings” they had.

Taiwan and the ban on TikTok

The third package of more than $8 billion to contain China’s actions in the Indo-Pacific includes $3.3 billion to develop submarine infrastructure, $2 billion in military financing for Taiwan and other allies, and $1.9 billion to replenish goods and services. defense supplies provided to Taiwan.

On the other hand, the bill to strengthen national security could lead to a possible ban on TikTok at the national level. Last March, the House of Representatives already approved a rule that would force the Chinese owner of the social network to sell it if he wants to prevent it from being banned at the national level. While defenders of this ban argue that TikTok endangers the data privacy of North American citizens, its detractors (and the Chinese company itself) consider that the law could violate some constitutional rights of the population.

Trumpists demand Johnson’s head

Johnson’s move is also risky on a personal level, as it has aroused the ire of the ultra-conservative wing of his party, grouped under the Congress group. Freedom Caucus. Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene announced this Tuesday that she will present a motion of no confidence against the speaker in the coming days. Greene is one of former President Donald Trump’s great allies within the House of Representatives.

For now, Congressman Thomas Massie said he would also join Green’s motion. If this motion passes, Johnson would suffer the same fate as his predecessor Kevin McCarthy, who was removed from office due to the boycott of the most radical Republican sector. When the intention of the two congressmen was known, the speaker came out to defend himself saying that it was an “absurd” threat.

“I am not going to resign,” Johnson told reporters Tuesday. “And, in my opinion, it’s an absurd notion that someone would file a motion to quash when we’re just here trying to do our job.”


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