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The Hill: Johnson signals potential change in stance on Ukraine to Republican senators

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 14, 2024 4:39 PM 2 min read
U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson conducts a meeting on Nov. 7, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
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House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson addressed Republican senators at their annual retreat on March 13, where he floated the idea that the long-obstructed Ukraine aid package could be made into a loan or lend-lease program for the benefit of U.S. taxpayers, the Hill reported on March 14.

The U.S. Senate approved a $95 billion funding package in the early morning of Feb. 13 that contained $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, but it still faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

NBC reported on March 9 that House Republicans are working on their own version of the bill to speed up the delivery of assistance to Ukraine, with one version including treating nonmilitary aid to Ukraine as a loan.

The Hill's article appeared to suggest this version could be gaining some traction.

"Johnson told senators that the House will send a Ukraine aid package to the Senate but floated the idea of making it a loan or lend-lease program so U.S. taxpayers would not be shelling out tens of billions of dollars without any expectation of getting a return," the Hill said.

Johnson reportedly cautioned the senators that the legislation sent by the House "will look substantially different than the $95 billion foreign aid package the Senate passed last month."

Johnson did not mention "whether such a Ukraine aid package would include tough border security reforms," the Hill said, citing senators who were present at the discussion.

The Speaker did, however, reportedly discuss the REPO Act, which concerns utilizing seized Russian sovereign assets for a Ukraine support fund.

Meanwhile, House Democrats have started the process of collecting signatures to bypass Johnson and force a vote on a Ukraine aid bill via a discharge petition, though this strategy is unlikely to be successful.

Ukraine war latest: EU ambassadors approve $5.5 billion for Ukraine defense fund in 2024
Key developments on March 13: * EU ambassadors approve $5.5 billion for defense fund for Ukraine in 2024 * Russian anti-Kremlin militias tell Russian citizens near Ukrainian border to evacuate * Russian oil refinery partially shuts down after drone attack * Media: Ukrainian drones attack 3 oil…
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