"Unprecedented" move: Democrats seek to save Johnson's bills on aid to Ukraine

Friday, 19 April 2024 —

On 18 April, Democrats in the House of Representatives departed from the usual political norms in the USA to save a foreign aid package, including for Ukraine, proposed by House Speaker Mike Johnson.

Axios notes that the fractured and tiny majority of the Republican Party in the House has effectively shifted to something resembling a bipartisan coalition. 

The four Democrats on the House Rules Committee voted alongside five Republicans to advance a package of four bills for consideration on the House floor. 

This move by the Democrats became necessary as three staunch supporters of the Republican Party's hardline stance – Thomas Massie, Ralph Norman, and Chip Roy – voted against bringing the bills to a vote. Without the Democrats' votes, further consideration of the bills would have been impossible. 


The Rules Committee typically consists of members loyal to the leadership who obediently vote along party lines when bringing bills to the floor for consideration. 

However, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy included Massie, Norman, and Roy in the committee last year to appease hardline right-wing supporters who had rebelled against his power struggle. 

This handed control over to the Democrats, who are in the minority in the House and overwhelmingly support the package and are desperately seeking to assist Ukraine. 

"This kind of party crossover on the panel has not happened in the time that I've been here," said Congressman Dan Kildee, who has served in Congress for more than a decade. He noted that this step is "unprecedented".

House Speaker Mike Johnson introduced the package of bills, which includes support for Ukraine, on Wednesday. It envisages allocating around US$61 billion in aid to Ukraine and allies. The bill's final vote is expected to occur by the evening of Saturday, 20 April.

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