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U.S. considers Plan B to provide aid to Ukraine

U.S. considers Plan B to provide aid to Ukraine Rep. Gregory Meeks (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

In the U.S. Congress, efforts are underway to find a Plan B to provide aid to Ukraine despite opposition from House Speaker Mike Johnson, reports The Hill.

According to the material, Johnson's position on criticizing aid to Ukraine aligns him with former U.S. President Trump and many conservatives in the Republican Party. However, the majority of lawmakers in the House of Representatives warn that there is a threat to European democracy and U.S. national security if Russia prevails.

It is noted that lawmakers from both parties are currently trying to find an alternative approach and quickly agree on another round of aid to Ukraine. They want U.S. President Joe Biden to sign it as early as March, even if it means bypassing Johnson.

Gregory Meeks, the senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that the most promising tactic on the shortlist of options is a discharge petition. This is a procedural mechanism that allows 218 lawmakers to pass bills that the Speaker refuses to consider.

However, it should be noted that such petitions rarely succeed as they require members of the majority party to oppose their own leadership. In the U.S., the last time such a petition was considered was in 2015.

Meeks said he's already talking to Republicans about signing the petition. In his opinion, this is the most viable path to getting aid to Ukraine, considering Johnson's position.

"This is the way to do something bipartisan for our country’s national security, and to stand by our allies. It's urgent. Ukraine needs what they need immediately," the congressman said.

What does a discharge petition mean

This is the equivalent of an extraordinary session.

  • a member of the House submits a so-called discharge petition;
  • such a petition must collect signatures from at least 218 members of the House of Representatives;
  • their collection takes place in a special registry kept on the table of the House;
  • after the petition is filed, there is a 7-day waiting period during which the petition must be available for review by all members of the House;
  • if it gathers the required number of signatures, it can be brought to a vote.

The procedure allows for setting a voting date, which must be no earlier than 7 plenary days after the required signatures are collected.

What preceded

On February 13, the United States Senate approved a bill to aid Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan for $95 billion. In particular, the document provides over $60 billion for Ukraine.

The U.S. has been unable to approve new funding for assistance to Ukraine for several months due to differences between Republicans and Democrats. Thus, the allocation of new packages of American military aid is suspended.

For the bill supported by the Senate to take effect, it must be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by U.S. President Joe Biden.