Johnson turns to Democrats on Ukraine aid amid ouster threat

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) will rely heavily on Democrats to pass a series of bills in the coming days that provide aid to Ukraine, Israel and other Democratic allies abroad. The strategy acknowledges the nuances of governing in divided Washington, but it also increases the risk that he will be removed from office by disgruntled conservatives.

By rejecting the Democratic-backed foreign aid bill passed by the Senate, the speaker sought to placate hardline Republican critics and give a more conservative impression on controversial foreign aid.. At the same time, he introduced a border security bill, also aimed at getting conservatives on board, that failed in the Senate.

But the alternative strategy of moving nearly $100 billion in foreign aid would only further aggravate his recalcitrant right wing, spotlighting his weak grip on the chamber he leads and putting Thomas in the House of Representatives. This prompted the lawmaker to issue a new threat to the gavel. Massie (R-Ky.) has announced that he is prepared to remove the Speaker of the House from his leadership position.

The backlash means the bill’s success depends on Democratic votes. It depends not only on the final legislation when the bill is submitted to the House of Commons, but also on the procedural resolutions required to pass the bill.

This dynamic began Wednesday when Reps. Ralph Norman (R-Ky.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Chip Roy (R-Texas) — the party’s most hardliners — It became clear on Wednesday that there were three people. The House Rules Committee will object to the rules sending Johnson’s bill to the House.

Roy told reporters that “it certainly seems likely at this point” that Democrats would need to help pass the rule in committee.

“I fundamentally and strongly disagree with where the Speaker has landed,” he said.

Despite heavy criticism, Mr. Johnson last week won a much-needed endorsement from a leading Republican, former President Trump, who said he was “doing a very good job.” The vote of confidence complicates the path forward for Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who is leading the ouster effort with support from Massey, but passed before the foreign aid vote. This weekend, he said he had no intention of forcing it.

“I’m not going to introduce the bill before it’s voted on, because I think it’s definitely going to tell a lot of people exactly what I’m saying,” Greene told reporters. ” he said.

Mr. Johnson dismissed the threat, saying he was simply trying to protect democratic allies overseas, in the mold of the Reagan conservatives who animated the Republican Party before Mr. Trump entered politics.

“My philosophy is to do the right thing and leave the chips where they are. If I was acting out of fear of a motion to resign, I would never be able to do my job,” Johnson said on Wednesday. Told. “I could make a selfish decision and do something different, but I am doing what I believe is right. I think it is important.”

Mr. Johnson’s decision to press ahead with his plan in the face of internal resistance means he will first need Democrats on the Rules Committee to overcome opposition from conservatives — the minority party. This is an extremely unusual power relationship for a committee that almost universally agrees. Oppose procedural resolutions that bring proposals to the floor, even if the same minority party supports the underlying bill.

House Democratic leaders have not publicly expressed their support. But President Biden on Wednesday supported all four of Johnson’s bills, even before the final bill was released, and other Democratic leaders said they wanted Johnson to push the bills to the Senate. We are ready to provide the necessary votes.

“We cannot use ‘America First’ as an excuse to retreat from the world stage,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee. “By demonstrating the power of American leadership in having the strength, determination, and heart to fight for the most vulnerable, protect their freedoms, and defend their dignity, we will I am thinking of this first.

“We urge the swift passage of these bills.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York stopped short of expressing similar support, saying during a meeting at the Capitol Thursday morning that he wanted to take the temperature of the Democratic caucus first. Ta. But Mr. Biden and Mr. DeLauro already support Mr. Johnson’s bill, making it virtually impossible for Mr. Jeffries to oppose it. And on Wednesday afternoon, he framed foreign aid in the broadest historical terms.

“This is a Churchill or Chamberlain moment,” Jeffries told reporters on Capitol Hill. “We can stand up to Russian aggression to protect our democracy, or we can allow the extreme pro-Putin MAGA Republicans to appease Mr. Putin.”

Johnson said he is pushing to not have to rely on Democratic votes to ultimately pass the rules — “I hope that doesn’t happen,” he said in an interview with CNN. But given the landscape in Washington, which also acknowledges the tough political challenges, he has no choice but to work across the aisle.

“We’re not going to get 100 per cent of what we want right now because we have the smallest majority in history and we only have a majority in one chamber,” Johnson said. “Republicans run the House. We have a small majority in the House. Democrats are in charge of the Senate and the White House. So by definition we get everything we want. You can’t do that.”

That’s the same reality that Johnson acknowledged in the federal spending and government oversight deal with Biden that the House passed in recent weeks. But both negotiations infuriated hardliners. They are pushing back against the speaker’s tendency to align with Democrats, despite the current power dynamics in Washington, D.C.

Some of those critics now accuse Mr. Johnson, a staunch conservative of his tenure in Congress, of betraying his roots on Ukraine policy as well.

“I expect Democrats will provide as many votes as they need to pass this rule,” said Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), chairman of the Conservative Party. This is because it will definitely be rejected.” The House Freedom Caucus criticized parts of Mr Johnson’s plan, calling it a “joke”.

“Democrats can get as many votes as they want, so why wouldn’t they?” he added. “We’re doing what Democrats want to do again.”

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a leading critic of Johnson and who has filed a motion for the speaker to resign, said the speaker would introduce a border bill separately from the foreign aid bill. specifically targeted the decision of

To appease conservatives, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Wednesday morning that the House of Commons would consider the border bill under separate procedural rules from foreign aid measures. That means even if it passes, it won’t be considered alongside the aid bill in the Senate.

However, this ploy did not sit well with conservatives, who advocated it as a symbolic way to try to appease conservatives without alienating Democrats or actually passing through border security.

“It’s a shiny object that looks like a theater,” Green told reporters. “And it’s separate from the foreign aid package because he needs Democrats to help him pass the bill, and that’s why he clearly agreed with them.”

“It’s another thing not to upset them, so they’ll vote yes on the foreign aid package,” she added. “And it’s a shiny object for Republicans who are saying we have to do something for the border.”

In some ways, Prime Minister Johnson is pleasing conservatives. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is adhering to the 72-hour rule, which allows MPs a full three days after introducing a bill before voting on it – the vote on the foreign aid bill is expected to extend into Saturday evening.

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