By Will Porter / Antiwar.com

US lawmakers passed a raft of legislation containing some $95 billion in military aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, also approving a bill that will allow Washington to hand Kiev assets seized from Russia and pave the way for a ban on TikTok.

The aid bills passed by a wide margin after separate votes on Saturday afternoon, with the $61 billion Ukraine legislation approved 311-112. Though a thin majority of Republicans opposed that bill – accounting for all 112 ‘no’ votes, while one GOP rep voted ‘present’ – it was ultimately adopted with bipartisan support.

Another measure authorizing $26 billion in military aid for Israel easily sailed through the lower chamber in a 366-58 vote, with just 21 Republicans and 37 Democrats in opposition. An $8 billion aid bill for Taiwan and other US allies in the Indo-Pacific also passed 385-34, including language that allows the White House to divert additional funds to Ukraine.

While the aid was originally packaged together as a single bill by the Senate, House Speaker Mike Johnson declined to introduce the measure unless Democrats agreed to significant immigration reforms. However, after months of gridlock Johnson divided the legislation into three separate aid bills and later added a fourth containing several unrelated provisions, allowing them to advance to the floor.   The immigration provisions were left out of the four bills, and the speaker allowed a separate bill on immigration to come forward on a move to suspend the rules.   That suspension of the rules quickly failed, so no debate on immigration or the US border occurred.

The latter bill also passed overwhelmingly in a 360-58 vote. Dubbed the “21st Century Peace through Strength Act,” the law will allow the White House to bring new sanctions on Russia and Iran, as well as ban the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform TikTok unless its parent company, ByteDance, divests its foreign ownership stakes. The same bill also authorizes the transfer of frozen Russian assets to Kiev, after Washington opted to seize Moscow’s US-based funds in response to the 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Libertarian-leaning Rep. Thomas Massie, who voted down all four bills, condemned Speaker Johnson following Saturday’s session, saying he was “sharing the GOP Speakership with Democrats” while suggesting he had colluded with the rival party to ram through the Ukraine aid.

“To bring Ukraine spending up for a vote, he made a deal with Democrats on the procedural vote. Then he passed the bill today with every Democrat voting YEA and a majority of Republicans voting NAY,” Massie wrote on X.

On Friday, the Kentucky Republican said Johnson had sold out to the Beltway “swamp,” adding that the speaker “should step down” before agreeing to “send $100 billion to wars around the world.”

While GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene proposed an amendment that would have reduced funding in the Ukraine bill to zero, it garnered only 71 votes in favor and failed to pass. Greene also blasted the House speaker after the vote, calling Johnson “a traitor to our country” who allowed Congress to send Americans’ “hard-earned tax dollars to fuel a foreign war.”

Greene has threatened to remove Johnson from the speakership should he continue to ignore GOP concerns surrounding immigration, spending, and mass surveillance, among other issues, filing a “motion to vacate” that has yet to be called up for a vote. Massie, along with fellow Republican Reps. Paul Gosar and Eli Crane, have signaled support for the move.

President Joe Biden hailed the passage of the aid bills later on Saturday, claiming the House “voted to advance our national security interests.” Biden’s comments were echoed by his  Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, who thanked US lawmakers who supported the legislation and singled out Speaker Johnson for allowing the “vital” aid bill to come to the floor.

With all four pieces of legislation passing, they will move on to the Senate as a single bill. The upper chamber previously passed a similar measure, indicating it will face little opposition from senators.

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Will Porter

Will Porter is assistant news editor at the Libertarian Institute and a regular contributor at Antiwar.com. Find more of his work at Consortium News and ZeroHedge.

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