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IPFS News Link • Economy - Economics USA

House Passes $95 Billion Foreign War Bills

•, By Will Porter

The aid bills passed by a wide margin after separate votes on Saturday afternoon, with the $61 billion Ukraine legislation approved 311-112. Though a thin majority of Republicans opposed that bill – accounting for all 112 'no' votes, while one GOP rep voted 'present' – it was ultimately adopted with bipartisan support.

Another measure authorizing $26 billion in military aid for Israel easily sailed through the lower chamber in a 366-58 vote, with just 21 Republicans and 37 Democrats in opposition. An $8 billion aid bill for Taiwan and other US allies in the Indo-Pacific also passed 385-34, including language that allows the White House to divert additional funds to Ukraine.

While the aid was originally packaged together as a single bill by the Senate, House Speaker Mike Johnson declined to introduce the measure unless Democrats agreed to significant immigration reforms. However, after months of gridlock Johnson divided the legislation into three separate aid bills and later added a fourth containing several unrelated provisions, allowing them to advance to the floor.   The immigration provisions were left out of the four bills, and the speaker allowed a separate bill on immigration to come forward on a move to suspend the rules.   That suspension of the rules quickly failed, so no debate on immigration or the US border occurred.

The latter bill also passed overwhelmingly in a 360-58 vote. Dubbed the "21st Century Peace through Strength Act," the law will allow the White House to bring new sanctions on Russia and Iran, as well as ban the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform TikTok unless its parent company, ByteDance, divests its foreign ownership stakes. The same bill also authorizes the transfer of frozen Russian assets to Kiev, after Washington opted to seize Moscow's US-based funds in response to the 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Libertarian-leaning Rep. Thomas Massie, who voted down all four bills, condemned Speaker Johnson following Saturday's session, saying he was "sharing the GOP Speakership with Democrats" while suggesting he had colluded with the rival party to ram through the Ukraine aid.

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