April 18, 2024

Mike Johnson

The U.S. House of Representatives will have its long-awaited vote on aid for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific as soon as Saturday, Republican Speaker Mike Johnson said on Wednesday, paving the way for its possible passage despite fierce objections from the right wing of his conference.” Reuters

Johnson pushed ahead on a plan to hold votes on three funding packages — to provide about $61 billion for Ukraine, $26 billion for Israel and $8 billion to allies in the Indo-Pacific — as well as several other foreign policy proposals in a fourth bill. The plan roughly matches the amounts that the Senate has already approved…

“Meanwhile, the threat to oust Johnson from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican of Georgia, gained steam this week. One other Republican, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, said he was joining Greene and called for Johnson to resign.” AP News

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From the Left

The left is critical of House Republicans, and supports aid for Ukraine.

“When Johnson confessed on Tuesday that he found efforts to oust him ‘absurd,’ it revealed how little the Speaker understands what his party has become. Johnson still imagines a Republican Party unified by a coherent ideology and operating, more or less, under a guiding set of principles. The MAGA movement has shredded all that…

“[But] Johnson has an opportunity that was never afforded to his predecessor: the chance to walk away after a major bipartisan policy victory… Leaving the Speakership after stewarding critical financial support to Ukraine allows Johnson to preserve at least a semblance of his dignity.”

Max Burns, The Hill

“On the crucial Ukraine measure and also the ideological-sweeteners sidecar, Johnson cannot give MAGA Republicans everything they want without imperiling final passage of the package by the Democrat-controlled Senate (where Republican support for Ukraine is also relatively high). So he’ll need an indeterminate number of Democrats on multiple votes…

“Then, if this all works out and a foreign-aid package is actually sent to Joe Biden, Johnson will inevitably face a motion to vacate the chair for his pains… So to quite literally keep his gavel until November, Johnson will again have to rely on Democratic votes… If Mike Johnson manages to pull this off without ripping up the U.S. foreign-aid program or losing his gavel, then we’ll all need to concede he’s not the hapless Mr. Magoo he initially looked like.”

Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine

“It remains to be seen if Greene is serious about calling for this vote against Johnson or just wants to hold it over his head while garnering attention from the media… Despite her constant refrain that she has many (so far silent) supporters for this move, there is little evidence that's true…

“If [Johnson] would just put the bill the Senate already passed on the floor, that would be the end of it. But separating it into four different bills will require the Senate to vote again and there's a chance that they might be able to muster a filibuster… This is, in short, a huge mess and it will be a miracle if they get anything passed.”

Heather Digby Parton, Salon

“Though Russia can’t break the remarkable spirit of Ukraine’s people, this could be the year Russia breaks through Ukraine’s thinning lines. Surely, Mr. Putin is counting on this, combined with months of delay in the United States, and hopes for the return to office of former president Donald Trump, who urged House Republicans to withhold aid. Every day the House delays makes Ukraine’s fight harder — and cuts the chance of a positive outcome.”

Editorial Board, Washington Post

From the Right

The right is critical of efforts to oust Johnson, and divided about aid for Ukraine.

The right is critical of efforts to oust Johnson, and divided about aid for Ukraine.

“If Biden wins four more years in the Oval Office, we will be forced to travel even further down the road towards erratic and unreliable green energy while our bounteous and inexpensive domestic oil and gas resources go to waste. If Democrats win control of Congress, which Ms. Greene may well facilitate, they will likely push through tax increases that will undermine investment and productivity…

“Former President Donald Trump, who very much wants to kick Joe Biden out of office, knows how dangerous the tumult in the House can be. He recently met with Mike Johnson in Florida and gave him an important and well-deserved vote of confidence… The internal squabbles of the party need to stop. If Marjorie Taylor Greene and others want to oppose aid to Ukraine or the FISA bill, they can vote against it. That’s how democracy works.”

Liz Peek, Fox News

“The House Republicans who are threatening to oust Mr. Johnson over Ukraine imagine that they can defeat aid and return without consequence to pounding Joe Biden about the crisis at the southern border. They are wrong, and the sad irony is that such delusions about the world are usually reserved for the progressive left. On current trend the Kremlin will eventually win the war, and Mr. Putin won’t be satisfied with Ukraine’s east…

“Even if Mr. Putin isn’t yet ready to take on the West, NATO would still be forced to prepare for the possibility—and deter it… That threat would require an enormous change in defense posture on the European continent on par with the Cold War. More U.S. troops, jets, air-defense batteries, tanks and surveillance aircraft would be needed to harden the alliance’s eastern front. Those assets wouldn’t then be available to manage the Pacific threat from China, which Ukraine’s GOP critics claim is their priority.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

Some argue, “In December, Johnson said the American border should be Republicans’ ‘hill to die on.’… ‘We do that first as a top priority, and we’ll take care of these other obligations.’ Johnson even made a big show of visiting the U.S.-Mexico border and demanding the border be ‘closed and secured’ before the House would consider more foreign spending…

“Yet when the time came in March to put the money where his mouth was, Johnson and more than 130 House Republicans did not hesitate to pass a Democrat-led $460 billion spending bill that did nothing about the mass influx of border crossers illegally entering the country. Around that same time, Johnson’s Ukraine talk also started to shift… Ukraine’s borders, not our own, are his new ‘hill to die on.’”

Jordan Boyd, The Federalist

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