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NBC: House Republicans float idea of new Ukraine aid package as a loan

by Dominic Culverwell March 9, 2024 3:18 PM 2 min read
U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (C) walks to a Senate Republican luncheon alongside Sen. Rick Scott and Sen. Ron Johnson on Nov. 1, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
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House Republicans are working on their own version of an aid bill to Ukraine to speed up the delivery of assistance to the country, with one version including treating nonmilitary aid to Ukraine as a loan, NBC reported on March 9.

Another proposal on the table is the REPO Act which concerns utilizing seized Russian assets for Ukraine.

Using Russian assets, "is a very popular idea in the House,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Mike McCaul, a Republican congressman from Texas, said.

The proposals are currently in the early stages of development, three sources told NBC, but pro-Ukraine Republicans in the house want something ready before March 22 when another government shutdown is on the line.

The U.S. Senate approved a $95 billion funding package on Feb. 13 that contained $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, but the House under Johnson's leadership has derailed the bill.

Ukraine is already in its third month of the year without any aid from the U.S. as Washington argues over the funding package. The consequences have already been felt, with President Joe Biden blaming Congress for the fall of Avdiivka on Feb. 17.

The idea of a loan may be more appealing to Republicans opposing further U.S. support for Ukraine.

But National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said last month that a loan isn’t preferential for Ukraine, as it could only “make the economic problems of that country worse,” adding that a stable Ukraine is in Washington’s national security interest.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R) is one of the key figures backing the loan proposal. He claims that the idea came from presidential candidate Donald Trump who suggested a loan on his Truth Social account on Feb. 10.

“I think President Trump when he mentioned a couple of weeks ago that let’s make this stuff a loan, resonates with the taxpayer,” Graham said last week, NBC reported.

“And I think it will make it unlock the House. (…) You may have to add a little more humanitarian aid to get Democrats, but turn it into a loan and maybe we get this thing done.”

US House may start gathering signatures to bypass speaker on Ukraine aid
Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick said he keeps working with House Speaker Mike Johnson’s office to hold a vote through regular channels but will start collecting signatures to bypass the speaker if he does not comply.
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