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18 Apr. 2024

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Will Ukraine finally get help from the US? What does the funding plan presented by Mike Johnson mean

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Will Ukraine finally get help from the US? What does the funding plan presented by Mike Johnson mean

The speaker of the US House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, has introduced four bills on assistance to US allies, including Ukraine. According to the document, about $61bn is envisaged to support Kyiv. Find out what the bill says and why the proposal to give Ukraine aid on credit does not look as bad as it seems

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Four months after the United States announced that it had run out of money to fund assistance to Ukraine, House Speaker Mike Johnson introduced a new funding plan for US allies, including Ukraine. However, this is not the same bill as the one passed by the Senate earlier. Johnson's proposal includes four different bills to help Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, as well as a national security bill.


For four long months, the US political arena has been abuzz with discussions about whether to continue helping Ukraine in its war against Russia. And now, unexpectedly for many, the Speaker of the House, who has been postponing consideration of this issue, has put forward his own idea. 


Here's what exactly Johnson is proposing and when Congress will vote on the bill.


Aid on credit: what does the bill look like?


Many people were outraged when they learned that Johnson was proposing to give Ukraine aid on credit. However, the situation is not as bad as it might seem at first glance. Firstly, it is worth noting that the US is in the midst of an election campaign and politicians, if they take extraordinary steps, try to weigh them up several times.


So, the document presented by Johnson has already appeared on the website of the Congress and is entitled "Emergency Supplemental Appropriations to Respond to the Situation in Ukraine and Related Expenditures for the Fiscal Year Ending 30 September 2024, and for Other Purposes".


The bill provides for $60.84 billion in aid to Ukraine. Of this amount, more than $23 billion will be used to replenish US arms stockpiles, and $13.8 billion will be used to purchase the latest weapons systems, defence goods and defence services.


A separate provision of the bill stipulates that Joe Biden's administration should "as soon as possible" transfer long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine, provided that their transfer does not interfere with US interests.


The bill allocates $7.85 billion for direct budget support and $1.58 billion for support to priority sectors of the economy. Within 45 days of the bill's passage, the US Department of State and the Department of Defence are to provide a strategy for supporting Ukraine.


The aid will be provided on credit and the US President will have to sign an agreement with the Ukrainian government on the repayment of the aid within 60 days after the law comes into force. 


But here's the kicker: the document says that after 15 November 2024, the US president, if supported by Congress, can write off 50% of the debt. After 1 January 2026, the US president, if supported by Congress, can write off the entire debt. The bill also provides for the confiscation of Russian assets to cover the costs.




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When will Congress consider Mike Johnson's bill and is it ready to support it?


According to Axios, the speaker plans to hold the final vote on the bills to help US allies on Saturday, 20 April. This is the date he indicated in a letter to members of the lower house of Congress.


If Johnson's bills receive the necessary support in the House of Representatives, they will be passed on to the Senate. It is not yet known when the Senate will be able to meet, but according to its schedule, senators will have a break from 22 to 26 April. This means that the voting may take place either before Monday or after the senators return from the break.


Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, US Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that "on the face of it" Johnson's initiative meets the White House's requests.


Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives also expressed their readiness to support Johnson's idea, although they put forward their own condition - Johnson's bills should contain key points of the Senate document with aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.


In addition, the Speaker's initiative was supported by the chairmen of the House committees. This indicates that Republicans are ready to approve the House Speaker's bills, even if the Trumpists are against them.


We remind you! As the US Congress fails to allocate aid to Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made one of the loudest statements since the beginning of the war. Read here what the Ukrainian leader said and what is happening with Washington's "support" in general.


Want to know more? Read the latest news and useful materials about Ukraine and the world in the News section.




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