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Mike Johnson unveils plan to move Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan aid as separate bills this week

WorldMike Johnson unveils plan to move Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan aid as separate bills this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson on Monday unveiled a plan to advance foreign aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan in separate bills and move a fourth piece of legislation wrapping other Republican national security priorities together.

Those GOP priorities would include implementing a loan-lease program for Ukraine aid, which would lend Ukraine money backed by seized Russian assets, and imposing more sanctions on Iran.

Johnson outlined the plan in remarks to reporters after what he described as a “fruitful and productive” GOP conference meeting Monday evening. The speaker did not mention a ban on TikTok, but other lawmakers leaving the meeting appeared to believe that could be included in the package. He indicated funding levels for the national security bills will be about the same as those proposed in the Senate supplemental aid package.

Johnson said Ukraine aid was the most “controversial” piece in the GOP conference, but stressed that the majority of the bill would go toward replenishing American munitions — and therefore would be good for American jobs.

“Every member ultimately will be able to vote their own conscience on all of these matters, and everyone have an opportunity to weigh in and bring the amendments that they think are suitable,” Johnson said. 

“We will follow the germaneness rules of the House of course and the regular rules with regard to amendments,” he added. “But I think the final product will be something that everybody can take confidence in because they got to vote their district and vote their conscience.”

Johnson said he intends to allow members to read the text of the legislation for 72 hours before bringing the bills to the floor. If the text is released Tuesday, as Johnson said he hopes, that could mean the House might not vote on the four separate bills until Friday afternoon or evening. The House is currently scheduled to leave Thursday afternoon and be in recess next week, but that could change.

Johnson said it was the will of the GOP conference to vote on the foreign aid pieces separately and that he would prefer to send each bill individually to the Senate, but no final decision has been made on whether to package them together.

House Republicans had mixed reactions to Johnson’s plan, with many moderates expressing their support.

“We need to get aid; I don’t care procedurally how we do it,” Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., said.

Rep. Marc Molinaro, R-N.Y., called Johnson’s plan “thoughtful” and “an appropriate democratic process.”

“It’s the right way in which the House should function, and quite frankly, I think America should see this,” Molinaro said.

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., said members were “excited” to hear they would get to vote this week and hopefully the House would pass the bills.

Meanwhile, some on the far-right flank of Johnson’s caucus expressed opposition to his plan.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who filed a “motion to vacate” to oust Johnson, said she is “firmly against the plan” right now and that people would be angry about it. 

“I think it’s another wrong direction for Speaker Johnson,” she said. Greene added that she hasn’t decided whether to force a vote on her motion to remove Johnson, but said she doesn’t believe he will remain in the spot in the next Congress if the GOP maintains the majority.

Johnson, for his part, said when asked whether he could survive a motion to vacate after bringing the bills to the floor that he doesn’t “spend my time worrying about motions to vacate.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., argued that if the House passes the supplemental bills that Johnson proposed, it should wait to transmit them until the Senate takes up bills focused on energy and the border.

“It doesn’t make for a really precise soundbite, but there is a legislative mechanism by which we can take up these votes but then not transmit the bills until the Senate takes some action,” Gaetz said. “That’s a way to leverage the Senate into taking action on our drilling agenda and on our border agenda.”

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good, R-Va., said he supports Johnson’s plan for separate aid bills but said GOP leadership will be “terribly disappointed” if border security isn’t tied into the supplemental aid.

“Republican leadership promised that we would utilize the supplemental process to fight for border security,” Good said. “So I think they’re going to be terribly disappointed if we don’t do that.”

Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., also warned that he would walk back his support on Johnson’s supplemental if it lacks border security provisions.

“Border security is the No. 1 issue in the country. And for this town to be totally focused on Ukraine while they continue to ignore our southern border is atrocious, and it’s a slap in the face of the American people,” Donalds said. 

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