Wednesday , May 22 2024

US approves $95bn aid for Israel and others one week after Iran’s drone attack

The United States House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support has passed a $95bn legislative aid package providing security assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

The speaker Mike Johnson, who made this known after the vote said; “We did our work here, and I think history will judge it well.”

The $95bn in total funding includes roughly $61bn for Ukraine with some of the funding going towards replenishing American munitions; $26bn for Israel; $8bn for US allies in the Indo-Pacific region, including Taiwan; and $9bn in humanitarian assistance for civilians in war zones, such as Haiti, Sudan and Gaza, though the package also includes a ban until March 2025 on direct US funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa), an agency providing key assistance to Gaza.

The Senate is expected to pass the measure next week, sending it to Biden to sign into law.

Passage through the House has cleared away the biggest hurdle to Joe Biden’s funding request, first made in October as Ukraine’s military supplies began to run low.

The whole package will now go to the Senate, which could pass it as soon as Tuesday. It is then passed to Biden, the US president, who has promised to sign it immediately.

“I urge the Senate to quickly send this package to my desk so that I can sign it into law and we can quickly send weapons and equipment to Ukraine to meet their urgent battlefield needs,” the president said.

Chuck Schumer, leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate, announced it would begin procedural votes on the package Tuesday, saying: “Our allies across the world have been waiting for this moment.”

The Senate Republican minority leader, Mitch McConnell, as he prepared to overcome objections from his right flank next week, said: “The task before us is urgent. It is once again the Senate’s turn to make history.”

This approval comes barely a week after Iran unleashed a barrage of missiles and drones targeting Israel in retaliation for April 1’s suspected Israeli strike on its consulate in Damascus, which killed 13 people.

Iran’s massive aerial attack marks the first direct strike by Iran on Israeli territory from Iranian soil. Iran called the attack Operation True Promise.

On Friday, explosions echoed over an Iranian city on in what sources described as an Israeli attack, but Tehran played down the incident and indicated it had no plans for retaliation — a response that appeared gauged toward averting region-wide war.

The limited scale of the attack and Iran’s muted response both appeared to signal a successful effort by diplomats who have been working round the clock to avert all-out war since an Iranian drone and missile attack on Israel last Saturday.

Meanwhile, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, said he was “grateful” to both parties in the House and “personally Speaker Mike Johnson for the decision that keeps history on the right track”.

“Democracy and freedom will always have global significance and will never fail as long as America helps to protect it. The vital US aid bill passed today by the House will keep the war from expanding, save thousands and thousands of lives, and help both of our nations to become stronger … Thank you, America!”

Sergii Marchenko, the Ukrainian finance minister, pointed to the legislation’s provision for budget support.

“This is the extraordinary support we need to maintain financial stability and prevail,” he wrote on X.





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About Alex Itoro

Music and movie pundit

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