Saturday, March 16, 2024

Johnson Will Send Ukraine Aid Package to the Senate After all; Republicans Consider Seizing Russian Assets to Pay for Ukraine Aid

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Johnson Will Send Ukraine Aid Package to the Senate After all:
Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has bowed to pressure from Senate Republicans and will send a Ukraine aid package to the Senate soon.
The aid bill will not resemble the $95 billion aid package the Senate passed in February. Instead, it will probably be in the form of loans or lend-lease structure to make it appear Ukraine would be paying it back.
Johnson unveiled the plan during a question-and-answer session at the annual Senate Republican retreat, which took place at the Library of Congress.
Johnson also spoke of including something similar to the REPO Act (Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity) for Ukraine, sponsored by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas). That legislation would authorize "the confiscation of Russian sovereign assets and deposit the proceeds of liquidated property into a Ukraine support fund," according to The Hill.
“I did get the sense that after the appropriations bills were taken care of that they would turn to that, and there have been a number of suggestions. One has to do with the forfeiture, basically, of $300 billion in Russian assets, which I think is a great idea,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
“It would be justice to make the Russians to pay for Ukraine, pay the United States and allies for arming Ukraine,” he said. --->READ MORE HERE
Republicans Consider Seizing Russian Assets to Pay for Ukraine Aid:
Pressure is rising on House Speaker Mike Johnson to figure out a way to provide military aid to Ukraine and Israel.
Johnson told Politico’s Olivia Beavers Thursday that aid packages for Ukraine and Israel could emerge from the House in the coming weeks, either together or separately, following the completion of government funding bills due on March 22.
“I think it is a stand-alone, and I suspect it will need to be on suspension,” Johnson said, referring to a legislative process that would speed the floor vote while raising the requirement for passage to two-thirds – guaranteeing the need for significant Democratic support.
The Republican leader would certainly need help from Democrats, given the significant resistance to providing more aid to Ukraine among House conservatives.
The calendar, however, could make it difficult if not impossible to pass aid quickly. The House is currently scheduled to go on break immediately after the shutdown deadline, potentially pushing any foreign aid bills well into next month.
Ukraine supporters, including some Republicans, have warned against waiting until April. “Pushing it off past next Friday is reckless, and I’ve made that clear,” House Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers, a Republican from Alabama, said.
Rep. Adam Smith, the senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said he doesn’t think there’s enough time to bring up a new bill, so the House should focus instead on the $95 billion aid package already passed by the Senate, which includes $60 billion for Ukraine as well as money for Israel and the Indo-Pacific region. “The choice that Mike Johnson faces at this point is binary: Give us a vote on the Senate bill, or abandon Ukraine,” he said. --->READ MORE HERE
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