Rescue measure to allow Democrats to vote on Ukraine bill in extraordinary vote

House Republicans took an important step Thursday night in advancing a long-running foreign aid bill for Ukraine and Israel, moving a plan to consider it out of a key committee after Democrats were forced to rely on votes.

The 9-to-3 vote in the crucial rules committee was the first step in a convoluted process the House is expected to go through over the next two days to approve the $95 billion aid package. It reflected the level of far-right anger over Speaker Mike Johnson's plan to pass the legislation over opposition from ultra-conservative Republicans.

In a fit of rage, three far-right Republicans on the committee, which controls what legislation must reach the House floor, refused to support the provision needed to bring up the foreign aid bill, putting it on the path to death in the committee. But Democrats on the panel stepped up to save it in an unusual defiance.

All Democrats voted to advance the plan out of committee.

The rules committee has traditionally been an arm of the speaker, and legislation is usually brought to the floor in a straight party-line vote.

All Democrats must do is vote on the House floor, approve the provision and allow the aid package to pass, and cast their support in another unusual vote in the face of Republican opposition.

Mr. Pushing Foreign Aid Package Through House The provision is important to Johnson's plan because it would allow separate votes on aid to Israel and aid to Ukraine, which are supported by different coalitions, but would tie them together without requiring lawmakers. Always vote up or down on the entire bill.

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A group of far-right lawmakers who sought to block action on the committee won their seats on the rules committee last year as part of a concession made by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who had to negotiate with hard-line conservatives who opposed his selection. to high office and agreed to support him only after he gave them important authority. They have refused to back a measure to bring in a foreign aid package because it would not allow a vote on tougher border security measures, which they say should be prioritized to help Ukraine.

It was a significant act of rebellion, and Democrats bailed out the speaker and pushed the measure through committee.

Mr. Johnson earlier said he expected a House vote on Saturday to pass the aid package.

“I'd rather send bullets to Ukraine than American boys,” he said in an interview with Newsmax Thursday night. “We don't want to have boots on the ground and prevent that by allowing them to keep Putin at bay.”

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