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House GOP’s aid bills for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan advance — with Democrats’ help

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Democrats took an unusual step Thursday and helped Republican leaders advance legislation to provide billions in stalled security funding for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, steering the measures closer toward passage this weekend.

After about nine hours of recess, the House Rules Committee reconvened late Thursday night and moved  GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson’s foreign aid bills on a 9-3 vote, thanks to the votes of all four Democrats who sit on the committee: Ranking Member Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse and New Mexico Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández.

The conservative Republican hardliners on the committee — Reps. Tom Massie of Kentucky, Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Chip Roy of Texas — all voted against the rule, because border security was not being paired with foreign aid. However, the speaker is putting what he said is an “aggressive” border bill to a vote Friday morning. It failed to pass out of the Rules Committee, but the House will consider it under a suspension of the rule, which means it will require two-thirds support to pass. 

The House is expected to vote on final passage of the foreign aid package this weekend.

The three foreign aid bills would provide $26.4 billion to support Israel, $60.8 billion to bolster Ukraine and $8.1 billion to counter China in the Indo-Pacific, including billions for Taiwan. The Israel bill also includes more than $9.1 billion to address humanitarian needs, which Democrats said was necessary for their support. 

A fourth bill is geared toward addressing other GOP foreign policy priorities. In particular, it would allow the sale of frozen assets of Russian oligarchs and potentially force the sale of TikTok and authorize stricter sanctions on Russia, China and Iran. 

President Biden said he would sign the package into law and has called on the House to pass it this week and the Senate to quickly follow. Both chambers are scheduled to be in recess next week. 

Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, announced the proposal on Monday amid mounting pressure from members in both parties to hold a vote on a bipartisan Senate package that includes support for the U.S. allies. The $95 billion supplemental funding package that passed the Senate in February has stagnated for months in the House as Johnson has debated a path forward.

Foreign aid has sown deep divisions among House Republicans — some on the far right have threatened to oust Johnson from the speakership over additional funding to Ukraine, which they oppose.

Johnson defended his decision Wednesday and said providing Ukraine with lethal aid was “critically important.”

“If I operated out of fear over a motion to vacate, I would never be able to do my job,” Johnson told reporters. 

“Look, history judges us for what we do,” he said, adding, “This is a critical time right now critical time on the world stage. I could make a you know I can make a selfish decision and do something that that’s different. But I’m doing here what I believe to be the right thing.”

GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado predicted “this could be the beginning of the end for the speaker.” 

Ellis Kim, Nikole Killion, Laura Garrison and Kristin Brown contributed reporting.