Johnson Unveils $95 Billion Aid Package for Israel, Ukraine
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Mike Johnson
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On April 17, U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson declared that he would proceed with action on U.S. aid to Ukraine and Israel, disclosing legislation supplying over $95 billion in security assistance, including $60.84 billion to Kyiv in its combat with Moscow, of which $23.2 billion would be set aside to replenish U.S. weapons, stocks, and facilities.

Amounting to $26.38 billion, the Israel bill will partially cover the cost of U.S. military operations responding to recent attacks. Also, $9.1 billion of the total would be earmarked for humanitarian needs, something Democrats had demanded, although it forbids bankrolling the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA. Around $5.2 billion will be earmarked to expand Israel’s missile and rocket defense system, while another $3.5 billion will be set aside to buy advanced weapons systems, $1 billion to enhance weapons production, and $4.4 billion for other supplies and services supplied to Israel.

According to Reuters reports, the Ukraine bill entails $13.8 billion for the purchase of advanced weapons systems, apart from $26 million to “continue oversight and accountability” of aid channeled to Ukraine.

Although the United States officially does not have forces based in Ukraine, the Pentagon has been training Ukrainian troops elsewhere in the region and harbors a military presence across Europe, including countries in eastern Europe such as Estonia.

Notably, an Indo-Pacific bill will also supply $8.12 billion “to counter communist China and ensure a strong deterrence in the region” in light of China’s increasing military assertiveness.

In this third bill, $3.3 billion will be set aside to develop submarine infrastructure, in addition to $2 billion in foreign military financing for Taiwan and other key allies in the region to prepare them for “confronting Chinese aggression.”

Johnson said he would give House members 72 hours, namely until midday on April 20, to evaluate the bill and provide amendments before a vote on final passage.

He added that he would unveil a separate border security bill to address concerns from some Republicans on the deteriorating security situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. President Joe Biden urged Congress to pass the bills quickly.

“I will sign this into law immediately to send a message to the world: We stand with our friends, and we won’t let Iran or Russia succeed,” Biden announced.

There has been mounting opposition to Johnson’s role as House speaker, with Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) telling Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on April 16 that she is prepared to force Johnson out of his position with a vote to vacate the chair if he does not willingly resign the position. Greene declared,

The reality for Mike Johnson that he just is not accepting or refusing to accept, publicly at least, is whether it happens two weeks from now, two months from now, or in the next majority, he will not be Speaker. He just will not be. There may be only two of us public right now. But he does not have the support of the conference at all. There may be people who might not vote to vacate him right now, but they will never vote for him to be Speaker next Congress. There are two large factions in the conference against his speakership.

Furthermore, Greene revealed to Breitbart that Johnson’s continued support for Ukraine aid was not the only reason prompting her to vote to remove him from his position. Quoting Johnson’s involvement in FISA legislation in backing the government in spying on ordinary civilians, Greene indicated her belief that Johnson has to vacate his role. In comments to Breitbart News, Greene went on:

The Republican Party has not gotten the message for, I would argue, decades from Republican voters. The leadership in the Republican Party is 100 percent with the Washington establishment and the deep state. They just want to continue things, not rock the boat, and keep it going, keep it going. They hate Trump. They really do. Just because people are coming around as he’s our Republican nominee for president and saying they are supporting him, they are strictly doing that because they cannot get around him. I think it’s extremely important to keep in mind that holding a leader like Mike Johnson accountable and not allowing his leadership to continue is actually a referendum on the Republican Party itself. We’ve had Mitch McConnell for years and years and we keep getting these people.

Meanwhile, in remarks reported by Russia Today (RT), Andrey Yermak, chief of staff for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said on April 17 that Kyiv demands security guarantees from the West just like the guarantees the United States supplies to Israel.

“An agreement between the US and Ukraine must work no worse than the American memorandum with Israel, the effectiveness of which was confirmed by joint actions of the allies during the deflection of the mass attack on Israel by Iran,” Yermak posited.

Having said that, a recent Politico article dated April 17 revealed that Ukraine is facing an impending crumbling in its combat efforts against Russia on the frontline this summer due to dampened morale amid a lack of supplies and prolonged fighting. According to the article:

“Morale among troops is grim, ground down by relentless bombardment, a lack of advanced weapons, and losses on the battlefield. In cities hundreds of miles away from the front, the crowds of young men who lined up to join the army in the war’s early months have disappeared. Nowadays, eligible would-be recruits dodge the draft and spend their afternoons in nightclubs instead. Many have left the country altogether.”

“As Ukraine’s ousted chief commander [Valery] Zaluzhny found to his cost, rational warnings that things may not turn out well can get commentators and analysts in trouble,” the article elaborated. “But suspending critical thinking won’t win this war either.”

Opinion editor Jamie Dettmer, the author of the aforementioned Politico article, castigated Western countries for not backing Ukraine for “as long as it takes” as they had promised. The lack of arms means Ukrainians are no longer willing to “do what it takes,” leading to Western aid faltering further, Dettmer argued.