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House Speaker Johnson to unblock Ukraine aid but with significant differences

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

The U.S. House is drafting its own Ukraine aid bill which will look substantially different than from the one passed by the Senate, House Speaker Mike Johnson said, speaking to Republican senators, U.S. political website The Hill reported on March 14.

Johnson told reporters that he would work on an aid package for Ukraine.

“No one wants Vladimir Putin to prevail,” he said.

“I’m of the opinion that he wouldn’t stop at Ukraine… and go all through the way through Europe. There is a right and wrong there, a good versus evil in my view, and Ukraine is the victim here.”

Johnson told senators that the House of Representatives would propose making support for Kyiv a loan or lend-lease program so that U.S. taxpayers would not spend tens of billions of dollars without any expectation of repayment.

Read also: House Democratic Leader urges republicans to pass Ukraine aid bill by March 22

He also spoke about including something similar to the REPO for Ukrainians Act proposed by Republican Mike McCaul, which provides for the confiscation of Russian sovereign assets and deposit the proceeds of liquidated property into a Ukraine support fund.

Johnson did not say whether such a Ukraine aid package would include tough border security reforms that could face opposition from Senate Democrats.

Republican Senator John Cornyn, who voted for the aid package passed in the Senate, said the seizure of Russian assets to aid Ukraine was a “great idea.”

“I’ve heard the Speaker now say ‘We’re not going to leave Ukraine empty-handed,’ or words to that effect,” Cornyn said.

After hearing from Johnson, Cornyn said he’s “pretty optimistic” about the House sending a Ukraine aid package to the Senate.

Read also: Pentagon plans to allocate $300 million to Ukraine as part of its 2025 U.S. Defense Budget

The U.S. Congress has not yet approved a $60 billion aid package for Ukraine. The Senate supported the bill on Feb. 13, but the House of Representatives has yet to consider it. CNN reported that the House may consider the aid package in late March or April.

Johnson promised a “timely” vote on extending aid to Ukraine following a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House on Feb. 27.

During the meeting with congressional leaders from both parties, Biden emphasized the “urgent need” to allocate the aid for Ukraine.

Speakers of 23 parliaments and President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola have called on U.S. Johnson to introduce a bill that would allocate $60 billion to help Ukraine, the Ukrainian Parliament Chairman, Ruslan Stefanchuk, who initiated the letter of appeal, reported on Feb. 28.

Read also: House Democrats strive to fast-track vital Ukraine aid against some GOP resistance

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine