Johnson Unveils Separate Israel, Ukraine Funding Bills That MTG Calls A "Scam"

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Apr 16, 2024 - 01:30 PM

After months of pushback over packages to send US-taxpayer-funded foreign aid to Israel and Ukraine, House Speaker Mike Johnson unveiled a plan Monday evening to hold four different votes on bills which would decouple aid by country, including Taiwan. Johnson will also put forth a House-approved bill that could ban TikTok from the US, and a measure aimed at satisfying Republican foreign policy demands.

According to WaPo, a draft of Johnson's plan mirrors a Senate bill, but may not include humanitarian aid for Gaza. In February, the Senate approved a bill which allocates $95.3 billion in supplemental spending, including $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, $9 billion to Gaza, and $5 billion towards Indo-Pacific allies against Chinese threats.

And while Johnson pretended that the Senate bill would be a 'non-starter' in the House without border security measures, there's zero in there for border security demanded by House Freedom Caucus Republicans as a condition of approving foreign aid.

"I hate this, that [Johnson’s] saying it and not following through with it, that the hill to die on was the border and he would not put Ukraine up without the border. Looks like that’s going down the tubes," said Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) following the meeting.

Johnson said after the meeting that "Every member ultimately will be able to vote their own conscience on all of these matters and everybody have the opportunity to weigh in," Johnson said following a Monday GOP conference meeting. "I think the final product will be something that everybody can take confidence in because they got to vote their district."

During Monday's meeting, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) suggested passing a rule that would instruct the Senate to take up a measure known as H.R.2 approved by House Republicans last year which would severely restrict migrant entry into the US, before taking up any House-passed national security package.

A seemingly defeated Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) left Monday's meeting speechless, saying "It's just what it is."

That said, WaPo reports that it's possible Johnson may work in border security measures to the fourth bill, which is essentially a GOP wish list, or through an amendment process.


Rep. Marjorie Taylor Grene, who's been threatening to introduce a measure to oust Johnson, called the plan a "scam" that she's "firmly" against. That said, she hasn't said yet whether she'll move against Johnson over concerns that it could jeopardize the Republican majority in the House.

"I support the majority and I want it next time. So I’m being careful," said Greene. "He’s definitely not going to be speaker next Congress if we’re lucky enough to have the majority."

Johnson responded to Greene, saying "I don’t spend my time worrying about motions to vacate. We’re having to govern here and we’re going to do our job. I don’t know how that shakes out."

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) told Punchbowl News Monday night that he's opposed to the package of four bills, saying he received no clarity from Johnson over his intentions.

As Punchbowl further reports:

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer and his whip team are going to have quite the job of neutralizing conservative opposition. Johnson, Emmer and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise only have 72 hours to assemble a coalition to pass the rule and underlying bill — perhaps even using different groups of GOP lawmakers to do so.

There's no indication of when the bill text would be ready, however once it's unveiled House rules provide 72 hours for members to read it before voting. Complicating matters is a week-long break the House is scheduled to take on Thursday, while Johnson said the earliest the House could consider the bills is Friday if legislative text is released by Tuesday (today).

If the bills advanced to floor debate but the House still can't agree to pass them, Johnson may be out of options. To that end, House Democrats are collecting signatures for a petition which could trigger a vote on the Senate bill - which currently has the backing of 194 Democrats and one Republican.