April 2, 2024

Speaker Johnson previews Ukraine aid, urges GOP unity, slams hard-liners

Republicans would be foolish to depose House Speaker Mike Johnson over a funding measure for Ukraine, so Johnson is going on the offensive to remind them that the issue will be up for vote soon regardless of their feelings.

The Republican from Louisiana mentioned that the GOP's presumed nominee, former president Donald Trump, has supported the concept of increasing military aid to Ukraine, and he went on to say that this could be part of the legislation he introduces, as The Washington Examiner reports.

After a weeklong Easter break, Congress will convene again next week.

Johnson's Comments

“When we return after this [recess], we’ll be moving a product. But it’s going to, I think, have some important innovations,” Johnson said Sunday night on Fox News.

“Even President Trump has talked about the loan concept where we set up — we’re not just giving foreign aid; we’re setting it up in a relationship where they can provide it back to us when the time is right.”

But on Monday, the speaker faced pushback from a familiar critic — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has previously sought to remove him from office due to a dispute over budgetary expenditure caps.

Pushback From Republicans

Johnson's efforts to rethink humanitarian assistance for Ukraine were met with opposition from Greene.

“If Speaker Johnson gives another $60 billion to the defense of Ukraine’s border after he FULLY FUNDED Biden’s deadly open border, the cruel joke would be on the American people,” she wrote on X. “And it won’t be April Fools.”

Again on social media, she cited a study that came out in February from the foreign policy think tank Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, which found that 70% of Americans want Biden to encourage peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

To address Republicans' concerns about allocating additional American tax dollars to the war, Johnson outlined his approach by citing the REPO Act, a bipartisan measure that would transfer assets confiscated from rich Russians to Ukraine as a means of providing military help. While MPs were on vacation, the speaker reportedly began to get their thoughts on the matter.

Democrats Take

According to Johnson, Democrats might help Ukraine by lifting President Biden's environmental moratorium on shipments of liquefied natural gas, which was an attempt to win over Democrats to the idea. Democrats, meanwhile, have praised Biden for the temporary halt he has placed on new LNG shipments.

“Opening up avenues like that is another delay,” Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.) told reporters in Washington.

Moving on with aid to Ukraine could spark further uprising, and the speaker's gavel is under attack from hard-line conservatives led by Greene.

However, there are some Democrats in the House who have stated their willingness to assist in Johnson's rescue, so granting aid to Ukraine could win over their support.

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