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The U.S. House of Representatives on April 20 passed a key foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and other allies after months of political infighting and a deteriorating situation on the battlefield.

Over two months have passed since the Senate passed a similar bill on foreign assistance, and Democratic and Republican lawmakers, along with U.S. President Joe Biden, have been calling on House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring the bill to the House for a vote.

The aid package provides $60.84 billion to assist Ukraine, including $13.8 billion for Ukraine to buy advanced weapons, $13.4 billion for replenishing U.S. stockpiles, $11 billion to support U.S. allies in the region, and another $13.8 billion to purchase U.S. defense systems for Ukraine.  

Another $9 billion will be allocated to the war-torn country as economic assistance in the form of loans that can be forgiven by the president with Congress's approval.

According to CNN, 101 Republican House members voted in favor of the Ukraine aid bill, 112 voted against, and one voted present. Meanwhile, among Democrats, 210 House members voted yes, with none opposing the bill.

The Senate is set to begin considering the House-passed bill on April 23 before it will be sent to President Biden for signing. Biden has already signaled that he would sign the bills once Congress passes them.

Ukraine has repeatedly called on the U.S. to pass the much-needed aid amid dwindling air defenses and ammunition on the battlefield.  A recent increase in devastating Russian attacks on critical infrastructure has highlighted Ukraine's growing need for assistance.

"The responsibility for the delay lies squarely on the shoulders of the House Republicans,"  Bruce Stokes, a visiting senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund, said in a written comment to the Kyiv Independent.  "While it is true that 55% of Republicans say we give too much to Ukraine, only 37% of the American public hold that view, so this delay was pandering to their base. The blood of countless Ukrainians are on the hands of the Republicans for putting narrow domestic political concerns above the needs of the Ukrainian people."

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on April 16 that Russian forces had managed to destroy the Trypillia Thermal Power Plant (TPP) in Kyiv Oblast because Ukraine had run out of missiles to defend it during an attack.

Speaker Johnson advances aid bills, but time running out as Ukraine’s supplies dry up
After six grueling months, the U.S. House of Representatives may finally be preparing to vote on a new aid package for Ukraine. House Speaker Mike Johnson said on April 16 that following new rounds of talks with House Republicans, he planned to advance three separate aid packages for Ukraine,

The House voted on three separate bills on April 20 on aid to Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific region, which is intended to address Chinese aggression in the region and a fourth one on national security priorities. In addition to aiding Ukraine, the bills include $26.4 billion to aid Israel and $8.1 billion to be spent on Indo-Pacific security.

The fourth bill caters to Republican priorities, including sanctions on Iran, the potential transfer of seized Russian assets to Ukraine, and a measure that could lead to a ban on TikTok.

The combined total of the three House bills amounts to approximately $95 billion, mirroring the sum included in the Senate bill passed back in February, with the adjustment that $10 billion in Ukraine economic aid is structured as a repayable loan.

The approval of the U.S. aid package comes at a critical time for Ukraine, marked by the increasingly deteriorating situation on the front lines, where Russia has recently made significant gains.

The delay in the U.S. defense aid for Ukraine earlier contributed to the loss of the key front-line city of Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast.

"The months-long delay only raises anew the question in foreign minds whether the U.S. is a reliable partner," Stokes, a visiting senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund, said. "Final passage allays some of those concerns, but the concern will not go away, nor should it."

Stokes added that more aid will be needed in 2025 and beyond: "...I have serious doubts as to whether it will be forthcoming in the amounts Ukraine will need."

CIA Director William Burns recently said that with military assistance, Ukraine could hold its ground through 2024, challenging Russia’s recent advances and potential major offensive expected in late spring or in the summer. However, there is a significant risk of Ukrainian defeat without this aid, and "the picture is a lot more dire."

Why some far-right Republicans are hell bent on ending further aid to Ukraine
As the world watched in horror at Russia’s unprovoked full-scale invasion and war against Ukraine in the early months of 2022, Americans rallied firmly behind the embattled eastern European democracy. Shortly after the start of the full-scale war, 79% of U.S. voters supported sending arms to Ukrain…

While Ukraine faces troop shortages and remains in dire need of weaponry, Russia is likely mobilizing around 30,000 people every month, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry, and is reportedly firing shells at a ratio of around 7:1 to those of Ukraine.

Critics of Ukraine aid have argued that the U.S. has already sent sufficient funds to Kyiv and should focus more on domestic issues, while supporters have emphasized that the bill would help job growth in the U.S. and support the country's defense industry.

The passage of the new aid bill to Ukraine will directly benefit at least 71 American cities across the U.S.

Providing additional aid to Ukraine would also facilitate the replenishment of U.S. stockpiles with weapons that have been continuously sent to Ukraine over the past two years.

Washington is Ukraine's largest provider of weapons and military equipment. The U.S. has sent Ukraine over $44 billion in defense aid since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.

Zelensky thanked the U.S. House for approving the Ukraine aid bill in his evening address on April 20.

"We appreciate every manifestation of support for our state and our independence, our people and our lives, which Russia wants to bury in ruins," said Zelensky.

"Certainly, we will use American support to strengthen both our nations and bring a just end to this war - a war that Putin must lose."

He added that the U.S. had "showed its leadership from the first days of the war."

"This kind of American leadership is vital to the preservation of an international order based on rules and predictability of life for all peoples."

President Biden also issued a statement after the vote, emphasizing that the passage of the foreign aid package sends "a clear message about the power of American leadership on the world stage."

"It comes at a moment of grave urgency, with Israel facing unprecedented attacks from Iran and Ukraine under continued bombardment from Russia," said Biden.

"I urge the Senate to quickly send this package to my desk so that I can sign it into law, and we can quickly send weapons and equipment to Ukraine to meet their urgent battlefield needs."

Opinion: The threat to American hegemony is real
Ukraine has about a month before it runs out of artillery shells, and the U.S. Congress cannot agree to ship more. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is dead. The slaughter in Gaza continues with no end in sight. The Yemeni Houthis are attacking ships in the Red Sea. The
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