Johnson Relies on Democrats to Push Through Foreign Aid

( – Republicans and Democrats in the House have been fighting for months over whether to pass an aid package for Ukraine. The president of the country, Volodymr Zelenskyy, has repeatedly begged American lawmakers to pass more funding so he can continue pushing back against Russia’s invasion.

The speaker of the House finally got funding, though, but he had to rely on Democrats to help pass it. That has left him in a vulnerable place with the GOP base.

Ukraine Aid

The Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid package months ago, but it was stalled in the lower chamber because Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) refused to allow it to move to the floor for a vote. After Congress finally passed the final appropriation bills, the aid was back on the table.

The week before the big vote, Johnson announced the House would vote on the aid packages separately. Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel funding, plus some other important policies, would be voted on separately. He claimed that was a way for lawmakers to vote how they wanted on each individual bill.

The Vote

After weeks of agonizing over what to do, Johnson brought the $95 billion Senate package to the floor on Saturday. The speaker held four votes to pass funding for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel, as well as a bill that could result in TikTok being banned.

The first vote was a procedural vote to allow Johnson to move forward. It passed 316 to 94, with 165 Democrats and 151 Republicans voting to move it through. CBS News reported that after the procedural vote, Johnson said he was “happy the rule passed.”

The legislation included $60 billion for Ukraine, with much of it earmarked to replenish US stockpiles of munitions that were sent to the war-torn nation. Another $26 billion will go to Israel and provide humanitarian aid for innocent civilians suffering in combat zones, including those in the Gaza Strip. Additionally, $8 billion was set aside for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region.

Effort to Oust Johnson

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) introduced a motion to vacate Johnson as speaker when he passed the appropriations measures before the spring recess. Nobody supported her efforts then, but that changed with Saturday’s vote. Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie (R) said he would support a vote to kick Johnson out of office.

POLITICO reported Massie said Johnson will face a choice to resign or face a vote to vacate. For now, it appears Democrats will save the speaker from his own party, but the fractures are getting worse.

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” the day after the vote and talked about the problems in his party. He said that while he loves serving in Congress, he serves “with some real scumbags.”

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