Democrats Plot To Force Vote On Ukraine Aid

Democrats in the House have launched an effort that they have promised for a while now, to force a vote in the lower chamber on additional aid to Ukraine.

The bid is considered a long shot to actually pass, but liberals are moving forward with it anyway. Republicans lead the chamber, after all, and leaders of the party have objected to the additional aid unless it also is accompanied by border security measures.

The efforts to force the vote are being led by Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, who’s the ranking member of the Rules Committee. But, in order for the discharge petition to pass, McGovern would need to gather 218 signatures.

If that were to somehow happen, the House would be forced to consider the foreign aid package that has passed through the Senate. That bill totals $95 billion in military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel.

The bill passed through Congress’ upper chamber in February by a total vote of 70-29. There were 22 Republicans who supported the measure, including outgoing Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

That proposal never went anywhere in the House, though, as Speaker Mike Johnson refused to bring the bill up for a vote. When he announced those intentions, he said no foreign aid bill would be considered unless it also included language that would strengthen security at the southern border with Mexico.

McGovern and other leaders of the Democratic Party in the House are hoping that they can find sufficient bipartisan support for their petition that would allow them to sidestep the opposition that Johnson has expressed.

That would then bring the bill to the floor of the Senate. Democratic leaders believe that if that were to happen, the bill would actually pass easily, as they predict they’d have more than 300 members supporting it.

During a press briefing held on Tuesday at the Capitol, California Representative Pete Aguilar, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, said:

“What we are asking our colleagues — Democrats and Republicans — is to sign the discharge petition that will bring to the floor the Senate national security bipartisan supplemental. That is the fastest and easiest way to solve this issue.”

Historically, discharge petitions have not proven to be very successful. The last one that did succeed in forcing a bill to the floor happened back in 2015. It’s not a sure thing at all that Democrats will be able to garner 218 signatures they need for it to pass.

Some of the more liberal Democrats in the House, in fact, have said they are against giving Israel more aid, which the bill that passed in the Senate does. The progressive wing of the party tends to side at least somewhat with the Palestians, or at least doesn’t fully support Israel as the establishment wing of the party does.

What that means is Democrats may have some detractors within their own party, no to mention the Republicans that are likely to oppose the petition as well.