US House passes much-delayed $95 billion Ukraine aid package, bill now heads to Senate

The Israel aid bill and legislation for an effective ban on TikTok were also cleared


The U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday passed the much-delayed $61bn aid package for Ukraine, besides $26 billion in aid to Israel and $8.12 billion for the Indo-Pacific. The bills, the result of broad bipartisan support, will now head to the Senate alongside another crucial legislation that threatens to ban the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok.

The passing of bills came after a long delay and staunch objections from the GOP. On the Ukraine aid, there were 101 Republicans and 210 Democrats who voted in favour, while one voted present. All 112 votes against it came from Republicans. The Israel bill passed 366-58, with 193 Republicans and 173 Democrats voting in favour. 

The Senate is likely to consider the House-passed bill on Tuesday.

Ukraine bill

Provisions in the Ukraine bill include a total of $61 billion, which includes aid for replenishing U.S. weapons stockpiles. While $13.8 billion will be for the purchase of weapons, Ukraine will receive more than $9 billion of economic assistance in the form of forgivable loans. 

President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the House for passing the foreign aid bills, with Biden saying in a statement that a bipartisan group of lawmakers voted to "send a clear message about the power of American leadership on the world stage."

The passing of the bill came as a huge relief for Ukraine, which has been facing a huge setback amid Russian advances. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had been pleading for aid, including weapons and supplies, to continue defending his country.

He thanked the US lawmakers for the approval of the bills, saying they moved to keep "history on the right track." "Democracy and freedom will always have global significance and will never fail as long as America helps to protect it. The aid would keep the war from expanding and save thousands of lives," he added.

However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reacted to the passage of the bill, stating that this would lead to more damage and deaths in Ukraine. "The decision will make the United States of America richer, further ruin Ukraine and result in the deaths of even more Ukrainians, the fault of the Kyiv regime," Peskov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Israel aid bill

The House passed the Israel bill which include a total of $26.4 billion to aid Israel. This includes $4 billion for the Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defence systems. The breakdown of the bill is as follows: $1.2 billion for the Iron Beam defence system, $4.4 billion to replenish defence items and services, $3.5 billion for the procurement of advanced weapons systems and other items through the Foreign Military Financing Program, 

An amount of $9.2 billion will go towards humanitarian assistance in Gaza, including emergency food, shelter and basic services to populations suffering crises.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the US House for passing the Israel aid bill. "This demonstrates strong bipartisan support for Israel and defends Western civilization."

The bill faced opposition from 19 members of the House Progressive Caucus who said, "We make ourselves complicit in this tragedy" if Congress continues to supply military assistance amid the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Passing the bill can also harm Biden's prospects with several activists and leaders of prominent Muslim-American organisations expressing their anger and reiterating that "they cannot back Biden for a second term."


Tik-Tok bill

The bill will also effectively ban TikTok in the US. In March, the House had passed a bill that gave TikTok just six months to sell (separate from its Chinese parent company, ByteDance) or face prohibition from US app stores and internet hosting services that support it.  

However, in the current bill, TikTok would have roughly nine months. The bill has now been inserted into a larger foreign aid package, which makes it much harder for lawmakers to oppose the measure.

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