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Johnson announces he is moving forward with Ukraine aid bill amid pressure from hardliners


Washington
CNN

President Mike Johnson announced Wednesday that he is sticking with his plan to introduce a series of foreign aid bills, including funding for Ukraine, after facing significant pressure from supporters of the hard line.

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

“After significant comments and discussions from members, the House Rules Committee will soon release the text of three bills today that will fund the national security interests of America and its allies in Israel, in “Indo-Pacific and Ukraine, including a loan structure for aid, and improved strategy and accountability,” Johnson said in the memo.

The loan structure around the aid comes after a meeting and news conference with Johnson and former President Donald Trump, who said in February that the United States should stop providing foreign aid unless it is structured in the form of a loan. That weekend, Johnson won Trump’s full support at a perilous moment in his tenure as president.

Johnson had announced Monday evening that the House would consider separate bills this week to provide aid to Israel and Ukraine, heeding demands from the far right to separate the issues. But he also left open the possibility that the bills could ultimately be packaged together, and Republican leaders could still take procedural steps to send all of those pieces in one package to the Senate, which could enrage the right wing of the House Republican Party conference.

The speaker faces growing pressure to make changes to the foreign aid package proposed earlier this week — and not just from its most right-wing members. While conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus have been sounding the alarm on border security and foreign aid bills since Tuesday’s caucus meeting, the cries have now spread to the rank and file.

Moderate Republican New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis said Wednesday that the speaker would “go back to Biden and Schumer and tell them he needs a border security measure to get foreign aid through.” Johnson said in his letter to members that he would introduce an immigration bill that resembles House HR 2.

A number of far-right House Republicans quickly rejected the border bill that Johnson had announced would be included in foreign aid bills expected to be voted on Saturday, dispelling thus any hope that the border provisions will appease the president’s right flank.

The border bill, which includes key provisions of another border package passed by the House and remains dead in the Senate, was seen as a messaging exercise by Johnson aimed at placating his colleagues’ demands on the border and it clearly doesn’t seem to work.

GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is leading the effort to oust Johnson, said on X: “You are seriously out of step with Republicans by continuing to pass bills dependent on Democrats. Everyone sees through this.

All of this adds up to the most intense pressure Johnson has faced regarding his future in his short time as president. Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky said Tuesday he would co-sponsor Greene’s resignation motion, which would oust Johnson from the presidency if it passed, leading the speaker to defiantly tell reporters he would not resign .

Conservative hardliners quickly became furious with Johnson for his decision to move forward with billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine and loudly warned him that it could cost him his job.

An angry Texas Rep. Chip Roy said he was “very disappointed” in the speaker and that he was “past the point of mercy.”

“I need a little more time today, but it’s not good,” Roy said when asked by CNN if it was time for him to step down.

Firebrand Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz called Johnson’s decision to move forward with the foreign aid bills amounting to “surrender,” pledging to vote against the package and to work hard to pressure others not to support this decision. Other Republicans also expressed anger and would not rule out voting against Johnson on procedural motions that could upend the bill.

With Republicans controlling the House by a razor-thin margin, Johnson will likely need Democrats to pass the foreign aid bills — and save his job if a motion to overturn it is made.

House Democrats are waiting to determine precisely how much they will contribute to procedural votes on the aid package until they see whether it includes something they need: $9 billion in aid. humanitarian aid in Gaza and other conflict zones around the world. The billions in humanitarian aid not only include money for Gaza but also for Sudan, Haiti and other regions that Democrats were quick to highlight.

At a caucus meeting on Tuesday, Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries told his caucus he would not accept “one cent” less in humanitarian aid.

However, House Democrats are divided on whether they would try to save Johnson if an effort to oust him was underway in the House, with institutionalists insisting that voting against a motion to overturn could prevent the body from descending into chaos just months before a presidential election. . Progressive members, meanwhile, warn that helping Johnson now could ultimately weaken the party and its base, which may already be unenthusiastic about going to the polls in November.

Democratic Reps. Tom Suozzi and Jared Moskowitz have said publicly that they would not support an effort to oust Johnson, but other Democrats — including the one who held the same office as Johnson — are not willing to take that kind of step. ‘commitment.

“Let’s just hope that this doesn’t happen and that we can meet our responsibilities and protect and defend our own democracy while protecting theirs,” said former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

If Johnson is indeed ousted, it could throw the House into chaos once again, with no legislation being introduced until a new president is elected.

This story was updated with additional developments on Wednesday.

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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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