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House of Representatives prepares to approve aid to Ukraine, bypassing Speaker Johnson

House of Representatives prepares to approve aid to Ukraine, bypassing Speaker Johnson Illustrative photo (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

Republican Brian Fitzpatrick plans to bypass House Speaker Mike Johnson to secure aid for Ukraine, according to Axios.

The material notes that this is a rare break with the leadership of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, which resisted voting on aid to Ukraine due to strong opposition from the right.

"We have to get something done. It's existential, it's time sensitive. Whether that's our product or somebody else's, we've just got to get the money out the door to them," Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick told reporters that he is preparing a so-called discharge petition, which could lead to a vote in the House of Representatives if it gathers 218 signatures. Such a petition would require support from a small number of Republicans, assuming it gets the signatures of a majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives.

This maneuver also requires some time, namely 30 days, during which the House is in session before it can be voted on.

What else Fitzpatrick said

According to him, the petition will be ready for signing by early March, and he hinted that he expects it to garner several Republican signatures.

"More than you think ... a lot of people who know it's the right thing to do," the congressman responded to a question about the depth of Republican support.

One Republican in the House of Representatives, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Axios that they would sign "if (there is) no other progress."

But Fitzpatrick also emphasized that the request for discharge is largely to "apply a pressure point to get something done soon."

How Republicans push for a vote on aid to Ukraine

Fitzpatrick and other pro-Ukrainian Republicans face increasing pressure to break with their party on this issue.

A group called Republicans for Ukraine last week ran ads in the districts of 10 pro-Ukrainian Republicans in the House of Representatives, urging them to sign a discharge petition.

On Thursday, House member Wiley Nickel sent a flag with the words "House Republicans surrendered Ukraine to Russia" to every office in the House of Representatives.

There are different laws for aid to Ukraine

Fitzpatrick said he has not yet decided which version of aid to Ukraine he will try to bring to a vote with the discharge petition.

The Senate passed a $95 billion bill for aid to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, but Johnson made it clear that he would not vote for it in the House of Representatives.

Fitzpatrick, in the context of the Senate-passed bill on aid to Ukraine, said he does not know if he will garner 218 votes for the petition, as border security is a concern for many Republicans.

Fitzpatrick, along with three of his Republican colleagues and four Democrats, introduced a $66 billion bill that would cut military aid to Ukraine, aid to Israel and Taiwan, and make changes to border policy.

Aid to Ukraine from the US

For several months now, the US has been unable to approve new funding for aid to Ukraine. As a result, the supply of arms to our defenders from the Americans has been suspended.

Recently, the US Senate passed a bill on aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan for $95 billion. Our country is allocated over $60 billion.

For the decision on the allocation of money to take effect, the document must be supported by the House of Representatives.

House Speaker Mike Johnson previously said he did not want to bring the bill to a vote. He believes that money for Ukraine should be considered in the context of funding US border protection from migrants.

A few days ago, US President Joe Biden gathered congressional leaders at the White House, and Johnson was also present. No specific decisions regarding Ukraine were made as a result of the meeting.