House Freedom Caucus Says ‘No’ to Advancing Foreign Aid Bills

The caucus has come out against advancing bills that would give assistance to Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, in addition to a bill that forces China to divest TikTok.

The House Freedom Caucus has come out against advancing bills that would give assistance to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, in addition to a bill that includes measures such as banning TikTok.

“The House Freedom Caucus will vote NO on rule for the ‘America Last’ foreign wars supplemental package with zero border security, and urge all House Republicans to do the same. To secure the border, we must kill the rule,” said the hardline conservative caucus in an April 18 statement.

A rule sets the parameters, such as whether amendments can be offered to a measure. The rule is voted on before the House can proceed to vote on the measures themselves. The House Rules Committee is meeting on April 18 to pass a rule so that the bills can be voted on the House floor, as scheduled, by the end of the week.

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) took aim at committee members Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) over their objections to the bills.

“The three members who refuse to support the Speaker’s agenda should resign from the Rules Committee immediately. If they refuse, they should be removed immediately. They are there on behalf of the conference, not themselves,” he posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The Israel bill would give $26.3 billion to the Jewish state amid its coming under attack by Iran over the weekend and fighting Hamas, which launched its most recent attack on the Mideast country on Oct. 7, 2023, resulting in the largest single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. It would include $4 billion for the country’s missile defense systems, such as the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and the Iron Beam.

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That measure also consists of $9.5 billion in humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas and where Israel has launched a retaliatory military campaign in response to the Oct. 7 attack.

The Ukraine bill would give $60.84 billion to the Eastern European country, which has been attacked by Russia since February 2022. This would include $23.2 billion to renew both defense articles and services provided to Ukraine and $13.8 billion in assistance for Kyiv to purchase U.S. weapons and both defense services and articles.

A third bill would provide $8.12 billion for the Indo-Pacific, including $3.9 billion in direct military aid to Taiwan and other regional allies, amid the Chinese regime’s growing aggression in the region.

A fourth bill would include numerous measures that have already been passed in the House as individual bills.

That measure would also ban TikTok unless its parent company, ByteDance, divests the app. ByteDance is connected to the Chinese Communist Party, and its leadership has previously affirmed a commitment to creating products that align with the regime’s communist values.

The bill would also enact sanctions against Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian terrorist groups. And it would enforce Iran-related sanctions.

Additionally, it would allow for frozen Russian assets to go toward Ukraine.

It also would apply the U.S. policy to enact and enforce sanctions against groups that use civilians as human shields to Palestine Islamic Jihad, which the United States has designated as a terrorist organization.

The bill would also sanction and impose visa restrictions on individuals involved in Syria’s Captagon trade. Captagon is a widely illicit and deadly drug mass-produced in Syria, where Hezbollah has a strong presence and whose activities include drug trafficking. Captagon is a major source of revenue for the Syrian regime under Bashar al-Assad.

A bill that would implement strict border provisions is stuck in limbo after the committee failed to pass a rule related to the measure. The GOP, along with a few Democrats, thwarted a Senate bill earlier this year that included border measures that the GOP deemed inadequate and that those Democrats deemed unfriendly toward immigration. The GOP-controlled House passed a strict border bill last year that is stuck in the Democrat-controlled Senate, which is highly unlikely to bring up.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who is in jeopardy of losing the gavel, seems undeterred.

“This is a critical time right now, a critical time on the world stage. I can make a selfish decision and do something that’s different, but I’m doing here what I believe to be the right thing,” he told reporters on April 17.

“I think providing lethal aid to Ukraine right now is critically important,“ he continued. ”I really do. I really do believe the intel and the briefings that we’ve gotten. I believe [Chinese leader] Xi [Jinping], Vladimir Putin, and Iran really are an ‘axis of evil.’ I think they’re in coordination on it.

“To put it bluntly, I would rather send bullets to Ukraine than American boys. My son is going to begin in the Naval Academy this fall. This is a live-fire exercise for me as it is [to] so many American families. This is not a game, this is not a joke,” he added.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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