US House advances $95 bln package for Ukraine

STORY: The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday moved ahead with a $95 billion legislative package providing aid to Ukraine and Israel in a broad bipartisan vote, overcoming hardline Republican opposition that had held it up for months.

Friday's procedural vote passed with more support from Democrats than from Republicans, who hold a razor-thin majority in the chamber.

The package is similar to one that passed the Democratic-controlled Senate in February. But the Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, held off on it for months in the face of fierce opposition from a small but vocal segment of his own party.

"This was going to require substantial Democratic participation."

House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries on Friday told reporters that his party had to step up and ensure support to U.S. allies Ukraine and Israel because of some lawmakers he called "pro-Putin Republicans."

"And we had a choice: are we going to put people over politics. Because the political thing to do is always to let the extreme MAGA Republicans crash and burn. Because they have so many out-of-control members, they cannot govern on their own."

Republican lawmakers such as Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie of the House Freedom Caucus objected to advancing the aid package.

"I'm concerned that the Speaker's cut a deal with the Democrats to fund foreign wars rather than to secure our border."

Texas Republican Chip Roy demanded Speaker Johnson live up to a pledge to first get funding for the U.S. Southern Border.

"To that I say, amen, and where is that, Speaker Johnson?"

Republican lawmaker Majorie Taylor Greene has already filed a motion to vacate Johnson's seat as speaker. Greene has not said whether she will pursue the motion, but on Wednesday predicted he would not remain in leadership for long.

The House is expected to vote on the measure on Saturday, after which it will return to the Senate, and is expected to move from there to U.S. President Joe Biden's desk and be signed into law.