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Bloomberg: Top Republicans say Ukraine aid vote weeks away, contradicting Johnson's shorter timeline

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 4, 2024 8:38 AM 2 min read
U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson makes his way to a House Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 6, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
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Top Republican officials said that a vote on Ukraine aid in Congress is still weeks away, Bloomberg reported on April 4, citing unnamed lawmakers. The comments contradicted an assertion from House Speaker Mike Johnson, who said on April 1 that it would be held "right after Easter."

U.S. aid to Ukraine has been delayed since fall 2023 amid infighting in Congress. In February, a $95 billion aid package to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan passed in the Senate with bipartisan support, but Johnson has so far stalled on bringing it to a vote in the Republican-led House.

Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, the head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also said on March 24 that he anticipated Johnson would bring the aid to a vote after Easter, despite signs that support for Johnson to keep his position was shrinking within his own party.

President Volodymyr Zelensky held a one-on-one phone call with Johnson on March 28, in another indication that the aid was moving forward.

Johnson had said on April 1 that he expected the bill to be voted on shortly but added that it would contain "some important innovations," but did not clarify what measures he meant.

The "innovations" and other concessions the bill will reportedly contain appear to be the sticking point contributing to the delay, Bloomberg wrote.  

Johnson has reportedly not shared the specifics of his plan with his own party, the Republican officials told Bloomberg.

Johnson's spokesperson also appeared to walk back the promise to bring the aid to a vote after Easter, saying that the comments were not "intended to convey a specific deadline."

The Biden administration rejected the possibility of connecting Ukraine aid with the lifting of a pause on new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export licenses on April 2, ruling out one of the possible concessions that Johnson had sought.

The ongoing delay in military assistance is taking place against the backdrop of increasingly dire warnings from Ukraine about how the deficit is hurting the military's position on the battlefield.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on March 29 that the army could soon be forced to retreat further if U.S. military aid continues to be delayed.

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