Ukraine Aid Could Lead to a Reckoning for Mike Johnson

House speaker faces flak from hard-right members of his own party, who may try to oust him
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2024 10:25 AM CDT
Ukraine Aid Could Lead to a Reckoning for Mike Johnson
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks at the Capitol in Washington on March 20.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The House of Representatives is set to convene on Monday after a two-week recess, and Speaker Mike Johnson has indicated a top priority is to "take the necessary steps" on funding for Ukraine in its two-year-plus war with Russia, reports the Guardian. He faces opposition from the hard-right faction of his GOP, which could trigger an ouster if he advances an aid package. CNN calls it the "most significant threat to his speakership to date," while the Hill deems it Johnson's "moment of truth." The speaker has already sidelined a bipartisan $95 billion aid package passed by the Senate and is "trying to cobble together a new House plan," per CNN. More coverage:

  • Options: Johnson has mentioned "important innovations" that could help get aid to Ukraine, including possibly funneling Russian assets seized under the REPO (Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity) for Ukrainians Act; floating Kyiv a loan; or including a clause "that would block the Biden administration's freeze of new permits for liquified natural gas exports," per the Hill.

  • Dems: The procedural mechanism that Johnson is expected to use to introduce a Ukraine aid bill would require approval from two-thirds of the House, meaning he'll need to convince a good number of Democrats to sign off.
  • Biden: The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal says the president should help Johnson get those Democratic votes, accusing Biden of "[abdicating] his obligation to build bipartisan support for US assistance."
  • GOP: The party is effectively split into two factions on the matter—hardliners who say Ukraine aid is a no-go, and others who insist it's necessary. "This is obviously an area where we cannot allow Putin to win," Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio told CBS News late last month. "European allies are saying that Putin's goal is a war beyond Ukraine with Europe. We need to stop him in Ukraine."
  • MTG: One of the Republicans' most vocal critics of Johnson and aid for Ukraine spoke to CNN last week about what she plans on doing if Johnson advances an aid package. "I'm not saying I have a red line or a trigger, and I'm not saying I don't have a red line or trigger," Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said. "But I'm going to tell you right now: Funding Ukraine is probably one of the most egregious things that he can do."
  • Ouster: More here on that possibility.
(More Mike Johnson stories.)

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