Ukraine is desperate for military aid, and many in Congress are ready to help, but there’s one person standing in their way – Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA). A bill has already been passed in the Senate, but he refuses to bring it to a vote in the House. Here’s everything you need to know about the situation.

Senate Passes $95 Billion Package

On Tuesday (Feb. 13), the United States Senate passed a $95 billion package that would send more than $60 billion to Ukraine (for their war against Russia), as well as additional aid to Taiwan (fear of Chinese invasion) and Israel (war against Hamas).

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The Senate needed a majority to pass the bill, and they achieved that with a 70-29 majority (one Senator didn’t vote). The bill was opposed by 26 Republicans and three Democrats (including Bernie Sanders, Jeff Merkley, and Peter Welsh). Now that it passed through the Senate, it’s on the House to keep the momentum going.

Speaker Mike Johnson Refuses To Hold A Vote

Unfortunately, the momentum has come to a complete stop – and we have Mike Johnson, the current Speaker of the House, to blame for that. He has repeatedly spoken out against the bill – not because he doesn’t believe in the aid, but because he wants to do more at the border.

Source: Office of Speaker Mike Johnson

“Now, in the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters. America deserves better than the Senate’s status quo,” Johnson said on Feb. 12.

Why Combine Immigration and Ukraine Support?

The Democrats are trying to kill two birds with one stone. The Republicans only want to kill one bird. It’s just another instance where the Democrats and Republicans are doing whatever they can to ensure the other party gets as little credit as possible – even with bipartisan support.

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In fact, House Republicans introduced a bill of their own that touched on many of the same border solutions included in the Senate bill – but the House bill didn’t include foreign aid. That bill passed in the House, but the Senate is doing the same thing the House is doing with the $95 billion package.

Republicans For Ukraine Call For Discharge Petition

Over the past week, many Republicans have come forward and urged Speaker Johnson to give up on the House bill and turn his attention to the Senate bill. Johnson has yet to listen and, instead, continues to delay it – so now the House is considering taking matters into their own hands.

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A campaign group called Republicans for Ukraine is launching a ‘six-figure digital ad’ in hopes of convincing GOP members to move forward with a discharge petition. The group is primarily targeting 10 House Republicans that they feel are likely to support the petition.

What Is A Discharge Petition?

Legislation typically originates in a committee that votes on whether or not they should send the bill to the House floor. If they vote in favor of the bill, the Speaker of the House decides when (and if) to bring the bill to the floor. That’s where we’re at right now with the foreign aid package.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

A discharge petition is one of the many legislative tools the House could use to override the Speaker’s ignorance of the bill. If the House were to get at least 218 signatures from its members, then the bill would move to a vote – with or without Johnson’s blessing.

Ukraine Supporters Confident They Have The Votes

As of right now, Republicans who support sending aid to Ukraine are positive they have enough votes to pass the $95 billion package – which would give Joe Biden the green light to sign it into law. Unfortunately, getting the bill to a vote could take time – and even then, it might not happen.

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After the Senate bill passed last week, Biden urged his Republican colleagues to do the right thing. “Supporting this bill is standing up to Putin. We can’t walk away now. That’s what Putin is betting on,” he said – adding that opposing the bill is only playing into the hands of Putin.

Gunner Ramer Says Republicans Can Make History

In a recent interview with Newsweek, Gunner Ramer – a spokesperson for Republicans for Ukraine – attempted to gain support from Republicans. He argued that the GOP party has always prided itself on standing up to dictators and leading the free world – and they still do.

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“Republicans have a chance to make history, but only if they get to vote. That’s why they should sign a discharge petition-it only takes four, but there’s safety in numbers. These 10 members have been leaders on Ukraine and American national security in the past, and it’s time for them to be leaders again,” he said.

Who Are The 10 Republicans They’re Targeting?

Republicans for Ukraine released their media blitz on social media and YouTube, but the video is primarily directed at 10 House Republicans who they believe are leaders of the US’s efforts in Ukraine. The video is only a minute long, but it features real Republican voters with personal testimony.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

The 10 GOP members they hope hear the message include Mike Gallagher (WI), Ken Buck (CO), Mike McCaul (TX), Mike Rogers (AL), Mike Turner (OH), Don Bacon (NE), Steve Womack (AR), Jake Ellzey (TX), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA). and Dan Crenshaw (TX).

GOP Supporters Fear What China Might Do

In the video, one Republican voter said that not supporting Ukraine would incentivize China to move forward with their invasion of Taiwan. “If Russia was to prevail in Ukraine – China, North Korea, Iran see that the world is not united,” said another supporter.

Source: Wikimedia/Government of Russia

They have a point. The United States is one of the few countries who could stand up to Russia, but if we don’t, then countries like China would take it as a sign that they can invade Taiwan without the threat of the US getting involved.

Not Sending Ukraine Weapons Would Result in WWIII

One supporter was adamant that sending weapons to Ukraine was the right idea if we want to prevent or avoid a World War III from breaking out.

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“Everyone’s concerned that somehow if we send more weapons we’ll start World War III. I say just the opposite, if we don’t send weapons and check Putin now we’re going to have World War III,” the North Carolina Republican voter said.

Russia Captures Donetsk City of Avdiivka

Russia initially invaded Ukraine in Feb. 2022. By Oct. 2023, Putin’s army took aim at the city of Avdiivka – located in the Donbas region of Donetsk Oblast. The city served as a gateway to the capital of Donetsk, which Russia would likely use as a communication hub.

Source: Flickr/President of Ukraine

On Feb. 17, roughly four months after Russia turned their focus to Avdiivka, Ukrainian fighters retreated at the direction of their commander in chief – who wanted to ‘avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of service personnel.’

Iran And North Korea Helping Russia

While the United States is helping Ukraine (or, at least for right now, trying to help Ukraine), Russia is receiving some help of its own. Just last week, Iran sent Russia nearly 400 surface-to-surface ballistic missiles – which are launched from the ground and designed to hit land and sea objects.

Source: Office of the President of Russia

Not only that, but North Korea has been keeping Russia supplied. According to a South Korean report, North Korea sent more than one million artillery shells to Russia. The last thing we need is for these three to start working together.