Johnson announced he would push ahead with a Ukraine aid bill amid pressure from hardliners


Washington
CNN

Speaker Mike Johnson announced Wednesday that he is sticking with his plan to put foreign aid bills, including funding for Ukraine, to the floor after facing considerable pressure from fierce opponents.

Johnson said in a memo to members that they would vote this Saturday evening.

“After significant member input and debate, the House Rules Committee today will soon release the text of three bills that would fund America's national security interests and allies in Israel, the Indo-Pacific, and Ukraine, including a credit system for aid, and improved strategy and accountability,” Johnson said in the memo. said.

The credit structure surrounding the aid comes after a meeting and news conference with Johnson and former President Donald Trump. He said in February that the U.S. should end foreign aid unless it is structured as debt. That weekend, Johnson received full support from Trump at a critical time in his speech.

Johnson announced Monday evening that the House would take up separate bills this week to provide aid to Israel and Ukraine, heeding calls from the far right to keep the issues separate. But he also left open the possibility that the bills could eventually be bundled together, and that Republican leaders could take practical steps to send all the pieces to the Senate as one package, which could anger the right wing of the House GOP caucus.

The speaker is facing mounting pressure — and not just from members of his right wing — to make changes to the foreign aid package proposed earlier this week. With conservative House Freedom Caucus members sounding the alarm over border security and foreign aid bills since Tuesday's caucus meeting, the outcry has now spread through the ranks.

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Representative of the moderate New York Republican Party. Nicole Malliotakis told the Speaker on Wednesday to “go back to Biden & Schumer and tell them we need border security action to provide foreign aid.” In a letter to members, Johnson said he is proposing an immigration bill that looks a lot like the House's HR 2.

Many far-right House Republicans quickly shot down the border bill, which Johnson announced would be included with foreign aid bills expected to be voted on Saturday, dispelling any hope that the border rules would appease the speaker's right wing.

The border bill, which included key provisions of another House-passed border package that died in the Senate, was seen by Johnson as a messaging exercise in an attempt to appease his colleagues' demands on the border, which clearly didn't seem to be working.

The GOP representative leading the effort to oust Johnson. Marjorie Taylor Green said at X: “You're seriously alienating Republicans by passing bills that depend on Democrats. Everyone sees this. ”

All of this adds to the intense pressure Johnson has faced on his future in his short tenure as speaker. Rep. Thomas Massey of Kentucky said Tuesday he would co-sponsor Green's resignation motion, which if passed would boot Johnson from the speakership, and the speaker defiantly told reporters he would not resign.

Conservative hardliners were quick to anger Johnson over his decision to give Ukraine billions of dollars in aid, and loudly warned that it could cost him his job.

An angry representative of Texas. Chip Roy said he was “extremely disappointed” in the speaker and that he had “passed the grace”.

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“I need a little more time today, but it's not good,” Roy said when CNN asked if it was time for him to leave the office.

Firebrand Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz called Johnson's decision to move forward on foreign aid bills tantamount to “capitulation,” vowing to vote against the package and work hard to pressure others not to support the measure. Other Republicans also expressed anger and would not rule out voting against Johnson on procedural motions that could lift the bill.

With Republicans only controlling the House by a razor-thin margin, Johnson may need Democrats to pass foreign aid bills — and save his job if a motion to vacate takes the stage.

House Democrats are waiting to weigh in on exactly how much practical votes on a $9 billion aid package for humanitarian aid to Gaza and other conflict zones around the world will help. Among the billions in humanitarian aid is money not only for Gaza, but also for Sudan, Haiti and other areas, as Democrats were quick to point out.

During Tuesday's caucus meeting, Democratic Party Chairman Hakeem Jeffries told his caucuses that they would not accept “one penny” less in humanitarian aid.

However, House Democrats are divided on whether they will try to save Johnson If the attempt to evict him takes place in the room, institutionalists insist that voting against the impeachment motion could protect the body from chaos months before the presidential election. Progressive members, meanwhile, warn that helping Johnson now could ultimately undermine the party with its base, which may already be less than enthusiastic about showing up to the polls in November.

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Democratic representatives. Tom Suozzi and Jared Moskowitz have publicly said they will not support an attempt to impeach Johnson, but other Democrats — including one who held the same job as Johnson — have been unwilling to make such a commitment.

“Let's hope that doesn't happen, and we can do our responsibilities, like protect our democracy, protect and defend our own democracy.” Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

If Johnson is indeed ousted, it could throw the House back into disarray, with zero legislation on the floor until a new speaker is elected.

This story was updated Wednesday with additional developments.

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