House Democrats Push for $95 Billion Foreign Aid Package, Facing Resistance

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson Push for $95 Billion Foreign Aid Package
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson Push for $95 Billion Foreign Aid Package. Credit | AP Photo

United States: On Tuesday, House Democrats initiated an unsuccessful bid to push for the approval of $95 billion, which would go to supporting Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, while adding to the pressure already established on Johnston to take the foreign funding package for a House vote.

In order to take their control over the house speaker, Democrats, minority members, started to gather signatures for a discharge petition, a rarely successful procedural tool that helps overcome the speaker’s right to choose which bills will be voted on, as reported by the Associated Press.

Discharge Petition Challenge

For the petition to make any difference, it has to count on the support of over half of the House members, which are exactly 218 lawmakers. With the House of the Republicans, 219-213, some Republicans would have to work around their leadership and put their signatures on the petition to reach the required majority. In addition, a small number of progressive Democrats will not support the bill as it earmarks a portion of the budget for helping Israel’s army.

Partisan Divide on Aid Bill

The voting highlighted the partisan divide in Congress on the roughly $60 billion aid bill to support Ukraine’s military, with conservatives unsure about sending more guns and ammunition to Kyiv. In contrast to Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, the House has remained firm on the legislation that was adopted by the Senate last month and continues to work separately to determine how the House should move forward with the package. He implied that the package would only be looked into after the government funding was finalized, while he still believed there should be border changes along the US border with Mexico.

Among the difficulties, the Ukrainian soldiers’ shoulder with is the shortage of ammunition as because American halted ammo supplies to Ukraine in the final months of this year.

“We have made every single opportunity to engage with the speaker on bringing the bill to the floor as a bipartisan piece of legislation,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee. “Why not just bring it to the floor? You know, it would win overwhelmingly.”

Future Outlook

Johnson, in fact, is asked to push a foreign aid bill in a bipartisan manner. House Republicans have become eager to come up with their own version of the bill in their determination to overcome the impasse. Their modification scales down the delivery of foreign aid to Ukraine only in terms of the military, not towards the running of its government.

As per Johnson, Republicans should refrain from offering their signatures to any discharge petition, and he promises to handle the Ukraine aid at some stage, but there is no clear plan he has outlined for the same, as reported by the Associated Press.

Historical Context

Only one petition of discharge was successful in 2015, when the bipartisan group pushed a vote to give a fresh life to the U.S. Export-Import Bank more than three months after its charter was lapsed.