US House votes on $148 billion Ukraine, Israel package

Patricia Zengerle, Richard Cowan and Moira WarburtonReuters
House Speaker Mike Johnson says the funding package takes care of "really important obligations". (AP PHOTO)
Camera IconHouse Speaker Mike Johnson says the funding package takes care of "really important obligations". (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

The Republican-controlled US House of Representatives is set to vote on, and expected to pass, a $US95 billion ($A148 billion) legislative package providing security assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, over bitter objections from party hardliners.

More than two months have passed since the Democratic-majority Senate passed a similar measure and US leaders from Democratic President Joe Biden to top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell have been urging embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring it up for a vote.

Johnson chose to ignore ouster threats by hardline members of his fractious 218-213 majority during the week and push forward the measure that includes some $US60.84 billion ($A94.83 billion) for Ukraine as it struggles to fight off a two-year Russian invasion.

The unusual four-bill package also includes funds for Israel, security assistance for Taiwan and allies in the Indo-Pacific and a measure that includes sanctions, a threat to ban the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok and the potential transfer of seized Russian assets to Ukraine.

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"The world is watching what the Congress does," the White House said in a statement on Friday.

"Passing this legislation would send a powerful message about the strength of American leadership at a pivotal moment.

"The administration urges both chambers of the Congress to quickly send this supplemental funding package to the president's desk."

A bipartisan 316-94 House majority on Friday voted to advance the bill to a vote, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told senators to be ready to work at the weekend if it passes the House as expected.

"It's not the perfect legislation, it's not the legislation that we would write if Republicans were in charge of both the House, the Senate, and the White House," Johnson told reporters on Friday.

"This is the best possible product that we can get under these circumstances to take care of these really important obligations."

Some hardline Republicans have voiced strong opposition to further Ukraine aid, with some arguing the US can ill afford it given its rising $US34 trillion ($A53 trillion) national debt.

They have repeatedly raised the threat of ousting Johnson, who became speaker in October after predecessor Kevin McCarthy was ousted by party hardliners.

Representative Bob Good, chair of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, told reporters on Friday that the bills represented a "slide down into the abyss of greater fiscal crisis and America-last policies that reflect Biden and Schumer and (House Democratic leader Hakeem) Jeffries, and don't reflect the American people".

But Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who carries huge influence in the party, on April 12 voiced support for Johnson and in a Thursday social media post said Ukraine's survival was important for the US.

The bills provide $US60.84 billion ($A95 billion) to address the conflict in Ukraine, including $US23 billion to replenish US weapons, stocks and facilities; $US26 billion for Israel, including $US9.1 billion for humanitarian needs, and $US8.12 billion for the Indo-Pacific.

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