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Speaker Johnson hawks $95 billion aid package amid threats to gavel

Speaker Mike Johnson and other House Republican leaders released a $95 billion foreign aid package Wednesday to fund Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan – as Congress continues to grapple with a response to actions taken by Russia, Iran and China that defied the international community.

The package includes $26.4 billion for aid to Israel, including $4 billion to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, $60.8 billion for aid to Ukraine, including $23 billion of dollars for the replenishment of arms and 8.1 billion dollars for Indo-Pacific aid.

Johnson, who is facing a small revolt within his own conference and will have to rely on Democratic votes to move the package forward, told members to expect a final vote on the package Saturday night. But the path to getting there will be an uphill battle and could potentially cost the speaker his gavel.

House Speaker Mike Johnson gives an interview on Capitol Hill, April 17, 2024.

Bill Clark/CQ-Appel via Getty Images

Far-right Republicans are mocking Johnson’s plan as the #AmericaLast Act — complaining, for example, that it provides $481 million to pay for housing, medical bills and legal fees for Ukrainian refugees coming in the USA.

“The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives is seeking to pass a rule allowing for nearly $100 billion in foreign aid – when there is no doubt that dangerous criminals, terrorists, and fentanyl are crossing our border. The border “vote” in this package is a watered-down and dangerous cover-up vote. I will oppose it,” Chip Roy, R-Texas, said in a statement on X.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Johnson said he wasn’t concerned about Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s threat to impeach him if he sued.

“It’s not a game. It’s not a joke,” Johnson told reporters. “We have to do the right thing and I’m going to give every member of the House the opportunity to vote their conscience and their will on this. And I think that’s how this institution is supposed to work. And I “I’m willing to take personal risks for this because we have to do the right thing and history will judge us.”

Asked if he would seek help from Democrats if Greene’s “rescind motion” comes up for a vote, Johnson shrugged off the prospect of a new battle for the president’s gavel.

“I’m not spending time thinking about the motion to leave. I have a job to do here. I’m going to get the job done. Regardless of the personal consequences, this is what we’re supposed to do,” said Johnson. “If Marjorie makes the motion, she makes the motion and we’ll let the chips fall where they may. I have to do what I have to do and then the members will also vote their conscience.”

PHOTO: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, and her fellow Republican impeachment managers return to the Capitol Rotunda, April 16, 2024.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, and her fellow Republican impeachment managers return to the Capitol Rotunda after transmitting articles of impeachment against the Secretary of State to the Senate. Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, April 16, 2024.

Puce Somodevilla/Getty Images

Greene said in a statement on Ukraine an additional $60 billion. are seriously out of step with the Republicans by continuing to pass bills dependent on the Democrats. »

But shortly after Johnson dismissed a joint threat from Greene and Republican Rep. Thomas Massie to oust him, Greene said she would not file a privileged resolution on Johnson’s ouster — which would require a vote — before new foreign aid programs are adopted. brought to the ground.

“I can go ahead and rule that out,” Greene said, adding “I can. I’m not going to announce it until this bill is introduced because I think the bill is definitely going to say to a lot of people what it is.

While several Republicans strongly oppose Johnson’s plan, President Joe Biden and top Democrats are urging lawmakers to support the bills.

Biden urged the House to pass the package this week, adding that the Senate should “follow quickly.”

“I will sign this immediately to send a message to the world that we stand with our friends and will not let Iran or Russia succeed,” Biden wrote in a statement Wednesday.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks to members of the United Steelworkers Union at the United Steel Workers headquarters April 17, 2024, in Pittsburgh.

President Joe Biden speaks to members of the United Steel Workers Union at the United Steel Workers headquarters April 17, 2024, in Pittsburgh.

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Representative. Rosa DeLauro – the top Democratic House appropriator – announced her support for all three bills, emphasizing that they “reflect” the Senate’s bipartisan national security package that passed the upper chamber on February 13.

“After months of House Republicans dragging their feet, we finally have a path forward to provide support to our allies and desperately needed humanitarian aid,” said DeLauro, D-Connecticut. . “We cannot withdraw from the world stage under the guise of putting America first. We put America first by demonstrating the power of American leadership – that we have the strength, determination and heart to fight for the most vulnerable people, to protect their freedom and preserve their dignity. I call for the speedy passage of these bills. »

Republicans are expected to unveil a fourth measure later Wednesday, including the REPO Act, sanctions, the Tik Tok bill and other measures to “confront Russia, China and Iran.”

And to appease hard-liners, the House will also introduce a separate border bill that will include “the essential elements of HR2, under a separate rule that will allow for amendments.”

If the package is approved by the House this weekend, the Senate will get a week’s break to consider how to handle the bill when the upper chamber returns on April 29.

Arthur Jones II of ABC News contributed to this report.

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