House Speaker Mike Johnson is moving ahead on a foreign aid plan that has roiled his conference and prompted two Republicans to push an effort to oust him from the chamber’s top job.

But instead of the complex four-part plan he floated this week, Johnson now intends to try to pass five bills — one each for aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Indo-Pacific allies — as well as a GOP wish list of foreign policy priorities and a fifth stand-alone bill to address widespread Republican demands to strengthen the southern U.S. border.

The new approach is risky and could blow up on the speaker, whose six-month-old hold on the gavel is being threatened by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (Ga.) promise to move a motion to topple Johnson (R-La.) if he puts Ukraine aid on the floor, something many Republicans object to.

Johnson told Republicans in a text to colleagues Wednesday morning: “After significant Member feedback and discussion” this week, the House will move ahead with his plan, with some significant changes. He intends to release bill text on Ukraine, Israel and for Indo-Pacific allies earlier Wednesday, and language for the GOP wish list and border later Wednesday.

The three separate bills that fund military aid for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan largely mirror the $95 billion Senate-passed supplemental. It turns a portion of the aid, the money sent directly to Ukraine, into a loan, which attempts to satisfy Republicans. It also includes just over $9 billion in humanitarian aid for Gaza, the West Bank, Ukraine and other places in need, which was a demand of Democrats.

Success is anything but guaranteed for Johnson, both on the foreign aid package and keeping his job. Timing on the votes, also, is up in the air — even as members were slated to head home for a one-week recess Thursday.

“The congressman has the flexibility to stay and support the aid package on Saturday,” his office said Wednesday.

The House Freedom Caucus has already panned the proposal. Johnson is “surrendering” on the border, the group tweeted in response to Johnson’s plan. “This flies in the face of every promise Republicans have told you” and they care more about “funding Ukraine than they do securing our own borders.”

Yet Johnson is moving the separate border package in an attempt to appease his unruly conference, many of whom have demanded that the border be secure before funding is sent to Ukraine and other allies.

Keeping border security separate from the foreign aid package is an attempt by Johnson to give both pieces of legislation a greater chance of passing. The national security bill will likely need Democratic support because of the large number of Republicans who don’t want to fund Ukraine — while Johnson aims to pass the border security bill with just Republican support, hoping to satisfy demands from all corners of his conference and send all bills to the Senate.

But in an almost four-hour meeting between Johnson and his allies Tuesday night — before this latest plan was released — Republicans left demoralized after failing to concoct a plan that would ensure enough of them support sending the package to the floor without having to rely on Democrats. Multiple people familiar with the meeting, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal dynamics, said the meeting enlightened them and Johnson about what moving on his plan would mean for his future: It could al lead to his ouster.

“The battle lines were very clear at the end,” one Republican said. “It was very clear [the motion to vacate] will be brought if the speaker’s plan proceeds.”

Greene and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) are supporting the motion to remove Johnson from the speakership after he relied on Democrats to pass several bills that failed to unite Republicans. If the motion were to be considered under special rules, the House would have 48 hours to vote on the question to oust the speaker.

Source: CF

Join the Conversation

5 Comments

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *