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House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he would. trying to advance wartime aid for Israel this week as it attempts the difficult task of winning House approval for a national security package that also includes funding for Ukraine and its allies in Asia.

Johnson, R-La., is already under immense political pressure from his fellow Republican lawmakers as he tries to move away from the Republican Party’s divided support to help kyiv defend against Moscow’s invasion. The Republican president has been sitting for two months on a An additional program of 95 billion dollars this would send support to US allies, also provide humanitarian aid to civilians in Ukraine and Gaza and funds to replenish US weapons supplied to Taiwan.

THE Iran attack on Israel early Sunday further increased pressure on Johnson, but also gave him an opportunity to emphasize the urgency of approving the funding.

Johnson told Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that he and Republicans “understand the need to stand with Israel” and would try this week to advance aid.

“The details of this package are being put together right now,” he said. “We’re looking at options and all those additional questions.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also said in a news conference that President Biden had a phone call Sunday with top Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, including Johnson. The New York Democrat said there was consensus “among all the leaders that we need to help Israel and Ukraine, and I hope we can find a solution now and get it done next week.” .

“This is vital for the future of Ukraine, for Israel and the West,” Schumer said.

Johnson also “made it clear” to his House Republican colleagues that he would push this week to bundle aid to Israel, Ukraine and their allies in Asia and pass it through the House, the president said. Republican Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, Speaker of the House of Representatives. House Intelligence Committee, on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The speaker expressed support for legislation that would structure some of kyiv’s financing as loans, pave the way for the United States to tap the Russian central bank’s frozen assets and include other policy changes. Johnson has pushed for the Biden administration to lift the pause on approvals for liquefied natural gas exports and has at times also demanded policy changes at the U.S. border with Mexico.

But currently the only package with broad bipartisan support in Congress is the Senate-passed bill, which includes about $60 billion for Ukraine and $14 billion for Israel.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby called on the speaker to deliver the package “as soon as possible.”

“We didn’t need any reminders about what’s happening in Ukraine,” Kirby told NBC. “But last night certainly significantly highlighted the threat that Israel faces in a very, very difficult neighborhood. »

As Johnson looks for a way to increase funding for Ukraine, he has been in conversations with the White House and former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

His job being threatened, Johnson traveled to Florida Friday for an event with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club. Trump expressed support for Johnson and said he had a “very good relationship” with him.

“He and I are 100 percent united on these big agenda items,” Johnson said. “When you talk about aid to Ukraine, he introduced the concept of lend-lease which is very important and which I think has a lot of consensus.”

But Trump, with his “America First” agenda, has inspired many Republicans to advocate a more isolationist stance. Support for Ukraine has steadily eroded in the two years since the war began, and a cause that once enjoyed broad support has become one of the country’s most vexing issues. Johnson.

When he returns to Washington on Monday, Johnson will also face a contingent of conservatives already angry at the way he has led the House to maintain much of the status quo, both on government spending and, more recently, on a US government surveillance tool.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a right-wing Republican from Georgia, called for Johnson’s ouster. She left the Capitol on Friday telling reporters that support for her efforts was growing. And as Johnson prepared to advance aid on Sunday, Greene said on X that it was “anti-Semitic to condition Israeli aid” on aid to Ukraine.

While no other Republicans have openly joined Greene in calling to oust Johnson, a growing number of extremist conservatives are openly disparaging Johnson and challenging his leadership.

Meanwhile, senior Republican lawmakers who support aid to Ukraine are growing increasingly frustrated by the months-long wait to bring it to the House floor. kyiv’s troops are running low on ammunition and Russia is growing emboldened as it seeks to gain ground in an offensive this spring and summer. A massive missile and drone attack destroyed one of the largest power plants in Ukraine and damaged others last week.

“What happened in Israel last night happens in Ukraine every night,” Rep. Michael McCaul, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Face the Nation. ” from CBS.

The divided dynamic forced Johnson to try to craft a package that would deliver policy victories for Republicans while keeping Democrats on board. Democrats, however, have repeatedly asked the president to put the A $95 billion plan adopted by the Senate in February on the floor.

Although progressive Democrats resisted supporting aid to Israel, fearing it would support its Gaza campaign that has killed thousands of civilians, most House Democrats supported the Senate package.

“The reason the Senate bill is the only bill is because of its urgency,” Rep. Gregory Meeks, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said last week. “We pass the Senate bill, it goes straight to the president’s desk and you immediately start funneling aid to Ukraine. It’s the only option.

Many Democrats have also indicated they would likely be willing to help Johnson defeat an attempt to remove him from the president’s office if he submits the Senate bill.

“I’m one of the people who would save it if we could protect Israel, Taiwan, Ukraine and some reasonable border security,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat.


Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Freking contributed.

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