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May 19, 2024 10:24 PM
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What’s inside the $95 billion House package focused on aiding Ukraine and Israel – Associated Press

Photo: Speaker Mike Johnson, talking to reporters

Speaker Mike Johnson has unveiled a long-awaited package of bills that will provide military aid to Ukraine and Israel, replenish U.S. weapons systems and give humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.

The package totals $95.3 billion in spending, which matches the total that the Senate passed in mid-February. But there are also a few differences with the Senate bill designed to win over some House conservatives.

Here’s a look at what is in the bills that Johnson hopes to pass by this weekend.

UKRAINE

The aid to support Ukraine totals about $61 billion. Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee said that more than a third of that amount would be dedicated to replenishing weapons and ammunition systems for the U.S. military.

The overall amount of money provided to Ukraine for the purchase of weapons from the U.S. is roughly the same in the House and Senate bills — $13.8 billion.

The main difference between the two packages is that the House bill provides more than $9 billion in economic assistance to Ukraine in the form of “forgivable loans.” The Senate bill included no such provision seeking repayment.

The president would be authorized to set the terms of the loan to Ukraine and also be given the power to cancel it. Congress could override the cancellation but would have to generate enough votes to override a veto, a high bar considering how the two chambers are so evenly divided.

Johnson, as he seeks GOP support for the package, noted that former President Donald Trump has endorsed a “loan concept.”

He also noted that the House package includes a requirement for the Biden administration to provide a plan and a strategy to Congress for what it seeks to achieve in Ukraine. The plan would be required within 45 days of the bill being signed into law. House Republicans frequently complain that they have yet to see a strategy from Biden for winning the war.

The bill said the report from the administration must be a multiyear plan that spells out “specific and achievable objectives.” It also asked for an estimate of the resources required to achieve the U.S. objectives and a description of the national security implications if the objectives are not met.

ISRAEL

Aid in the legislation to support Israel and provide humanitarian relief to citizens of Gaza comes to more than $26 billion. The amount of money dedicated to replenishing Israel’s missile defense systems totals about $4 billion in the House and Senate bills. An additional $2.4 billion for current U.S. military operations in the regions is also the same in both bills.

Some conservatives have been critical of the aid for Gaza. At the end of the day, though, Johnson risked losing critical Democratic support for the package if Republicans had excluded it. The humanitarian assistance comes to more than $9 billion for Gaza, where millions of Palestinians face starvation, lack of clean water and disease outbreaks.

INDO-PACIFIC

The investments to counter China and ensure a strong deterrence in the region come to about $8 billion. The overall amount of money and the investments in the two bills is about the same with a quarter of funds used to replenish weapons and ammunition systems that had been provided to Taiwan.

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