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US Congress reconvenes as Ukraine aid remains stalled

April 9, 2024

House Speaker Mike Johnson could face a rebellion within his own ranks as hardline Republicans continue to oppose a funding package for Ukraine.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson
House Speaker Mike Johnson is seeking to reach a compromise as hardline Republicans continue to oppose Ukraine aidImage: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Sipa USA/picture alliance

The US Congress reconvened this week with all eyes on a potential vote for approving a long-delayed $60 billion (€55.3 billion) military aid package for Ukraine

The foreign aid package, which altogether totals $95 billion in aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, was passed by the Democrat-controlled Senate in February, but has been stalled in the lower house of Congress, where Republicans hold a thin majority. 

However, prior to the recess in March, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson hinted that the House would quickly take up voting on the foreign aid package proposal.

Johnson faces opposition from hardline Republicans opposed to any further funding of Ukraine.

Johnson faces potential Republican revolt

Republicans have held up spending bills in Congress, demanding that stronger controls first be put in place to curb the arrival of migrants at the southern US border.

Johnson is seeking to find a compromise to have Ukraine aid approved.

On Tuesday, Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene renewed threats to have Johnson removed as Speaker of the House if a Ukraine aid vote is tabled. 

"Today, I sent a letter to my colleagues explaining exactly why I filed a motion to vacate against Speaker Johnson," she said.

She warned Johnson not to seek support from Democrat lawmakers for the passage of bills.

"I will not tolerate this type of Republican 'leadership,'" she said.

How Ukraine's war effort suffered amid US haggling over aid

Johnson himself took the position of speaker just six months ago, after the ouster of Kevin McCarthy.

Ukraine warns war is 'lost' without further US funding

On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Kyiv could lose to Russia if the US fails to provide military aid.

"It is necessary to specifically tell Congress that if Congress does not help Ukraine, Ukraine will lose the war," Zelenskyy said during a video meeting.

It would be "difficult" for Ukraine to "stay," or survive, without the aid, Zelenskyy added. "If Ukraine loses the war, other states will be attacked."

Also on Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron spoke alongside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington and appealed for Congress to approve the aid package. 

sdi/wmr (AFP, AP, Reuters)