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New US House speaker says aid requests for Ukraine, Israel should be split

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 27, 2023 11:02 AM 2 min read
Mike Johnson (C) (R-LA) speaks after being nominated Republican speaker of the US House of Representatives at Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Oct. 24, 2023. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
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There is consensus among Republicans who control the U.S. House of Representatives that the funding requests for Ukraine and Israel should be considered separately, newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson said on Oct. 26.

The move may reportedly impede U.S. President Joe Biden's efforts to ensure U.S. support for both allies amid the growing opposition to aid to Kyiv within the Republican Party. The White House combined military assistance for Ukraine and Israel in a $160 billion supplemental request to Congress on Oct. 20.

Speaking in the first interview since his appointment, Johnson said the U.S. would not abandon Ukraine but that the House's approval of further aid to Kyiv would require more accountability on money already spent.

Biden all in on aid to Ukraine, yet House remains an issue
In a prime-time address from the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden said he was going to send Congress an “urgent” funding request for aid to Ukraine and Israel on Oct. 20. The administration will attempt to push for $105 billion in assistance to Ukraine and Israel, as the

"We can't allow (Russian dictator) Vladimir Putin to prevail in Ukraine because I don't believe he would stop there. He would probably encourage and empower China to perhaps make a move on Taiwan," the speaker told Fox News.

"But we wanna know what the objective there is, what is the end game in Ukraine. The White House has not provided that."

Biden's administration asked Congress to approve $61.4 billion in assistance for Ukraine and $14.3 billion for Israel on Oct. 20. Johnson said House Republicans would propose a slightly bigger package worth $14.5 billion for Israel, embroiled in the ongoing war with Gaza.

Johnson, a Republican Congressman from Louisiana, was elected as the new House Speaker on Oct. 25, filling the seat left empty for weeks after the ousting of Kevin McCarthy.

One of ex-President Donald Trump's most loyal supporters in Congress, Johnson has been a critic of the delivery of aid to Ukraine. In May 2022, Johnson voted against a $40 billion aid package to Ukraine, claiming that his focus lies with solving domestic affordability challenges.

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