May 22, 2024
The House released the text of its proposals to provide foreign aid to countries such as Ukraine and Israel, teeing the legislation up for a vote in the lower chamber on Saturday evening.  Republican leaders published the bills Wednesday proposing to split foreign aid into four separate bills focusing on Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan. A […]

The House released the text of its proposals to provide foreign aid to countries such as Ukraine and Israel, teeing the legislation up for a vote in the lower chamber on Saturday evening. 

Republican leaders published the bills Wednesday proposing to split foreign aid into four separate bills focusing on Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan. A fourth bill is expected later in the day focusing on other defense measures to “strengthen our national security.” The legislation comes after months of disagreement between both parties on how to provide foreign aid, leaving Congress at a standstill. 

Johnson informed Republican lawmakers the bills would be brought to the floor under an open amendment process, allowing members to propose additional measures before a final vote.

The four bills will be paired together under a single rules package before being brought to the floor later this week for individual votes. After that, the surviving votes will be packaged together into a single piece of legislation and be sent to the Senate. 

The package includes a $26.38 billion package for Israel; a $60.84 trillion package for Ukraine, and $8.12 billion to go toward Taiwan. The proposal also includes a fourth bill that would combine a number of other national security measures, including legislation to force China to divest in TikTok as well as the REPO Act, a proposal to seize frozen Russian assets and transfer them to the Ukrainian government to fight against the Kremlin. 

Johnson also informed lawmakers there would be a separate bill coming to the floor this week that would focus solely on border security after threats from some House lawmakers to shoot down the measure if those provisions were not included.

It’s not entirely clear what the border bill will entail as the text has not yet been published, but Johnson said it would include “core components” of H.R. 2, Republicans’ signature border bill that passed the House last year but has since been stalled in the Senate.

All five of the bills are expected to be debated throughout the week, with a final vote on Saturday evening.

Under typical House procedure, a bill is brought to the floor under a rule that must be approved by lawmakers before it can be debated or voted on. A rule is historically passed along party lines and rarely fails on the House floor. However, House conservatives have weaponized the procedure several times over the last year, tanking key pieces of legislation and stalling action on the floor.

Thanks to Republicans’ historically slim majority in the lower chamber, Johnson has little room for error. As of Wednesday, the speaker can only afford to lose two members on any vote.

Making things more complicated, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) is set to retire on Friday, which would bring Republicans’ majority down to just 217-213 — meaning Johnson can only afford one defection if Democrats do not support the package.

It’s possible, though, that Gallagher will delay his retirement until after Saturday’s vote, giving Johnson slightly more breathing room. A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Republican said Gallagher had “flexibility to stay and support the aid package.”

In the event Republicans tank the package, Democrats would need to buck tradition and vote in favor of the rule, thereby throwing Johnson a lifeline to get the package over the finish line. Some Democrats have indicated they would support the rule, although many were unwilling to commit to doing so until they had seen the legislative text. 

Without Democrats, the legislation appears to be dead on arrival. A handful of Republicans, including Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Bob Good (R-VA), have already vowed to vote against the rule, possibly killing the bill if Democrats don’t throw Johnson a lifeline.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

“We’ll see,” Rules Ranking Member Jim McGovern (D-MA) told the Washington Examiner, before bill text was released. “I have no idea what it will look like.”

Also weighing over Johnson’s head is a threat to oust the speaker headed by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). That could put the speaker in a corner as he weighs his next moves, especially after Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) came out in support of the motion to vacate on Tuesday.

The bills, if passed, would then be sent to the Senate, where their futures are not as certain. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) did not commit to considering the legislation should it make it to the upper chamber, telling reporters on Monday, “We’ve got to take a look at it.”

Leave a Reply