Pressure grows on Johnson to make a move on Ukraine aid

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As the second anniversary of the Russian invasion approaches on February 24, House Speaker Mike Johnson is facing increasing pressure from both sides to come up with a plan for Ukraine.

The topic has become a lightning rod within the Republican Party, with a growing number of populist Republicans expressing skepticism about U.S. involvement in the conflict. Some are threatening Johnson’s leadership role if he votes on aid to Ukraine.

But mainstream Republicans and Democrats still believe it is in the country’s best interest to help Kyiv maintain its independence from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and to help overthrow the authoritarian leader. They argue that it is important to avoid broader and more intense conflict.

The pressure took on new meaning over the weekend when Russia announced it had captured the Ukrainian city of Avdiivka after Ukrainian troops, short on ammunition and manpower, withdrew. It was Russia’s first major gain in months.

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House Speaker Mike Johnson is facing increasing pressure to commit to aiding Ukraine. (Graham Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

And on Friday, the Russian government announced that President Vladimir Putin’s top aide, Alexei Navalny, had died in an Arctic penal colony.

A Senate Republican aide told Fox News Digital: “While President Putin is killing his main rival in concentration camps, Ukrainians are literally running out of ammunition and fleeing their cities. Now is the time to reach out to Russia. Not,” he said.

On the Democratic side, White House communications director Ben LaBolt criticized House Republicans for recessing under the circumstances, saying in a statement on Tuesday, “House Republicans have unjustifiably expedited their recess for five days. We are aware that their inaction is causing more damage to the people.” our national security. ”

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On Friday, a small group of bipartisan House members introduced an additional security package that would give Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan about $66 billion in military-only aid, while reinstating the Trump administration’s “remain policy.” and other measures to alleviate the U.S. border crisis. “Mexico” policy continued for one year.

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) warned on the same day that Johnson would have little choice in whether to vote on any foreign aid.

“He’ll either have to do it – put himself on the floor – or it’ll be done through a discharge petition. This is basically saying we’re doing this without authority. “This completely eviscerates his power,” McCall said at a Christian Science Monitor panel event.

michael mccall

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCall said Johnson could be forced to act on Ukraine. (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Johnson rejected two Senate efforts to pass his own security supplement proposal, which included about $60 billion for Ukraine. He said this month that passing aid to Ukraine remains his personal focus, but has not disclosed any public plans for that.

“There is tremendous pressure on Mr. Johnson to act, which is one reason Republicans opposed to aid to Ukraine were so eager for the Senate to fail.” [their plans]Doug Klein, a policy analyst with Razom for Ukraine, told Fox News Digital on Tuesday. “They recognize the urgency, and members of Congress, including Johnson, have received classified briefings telling them how important U.S. aid is to Ukraine.” What are the risks to the war effort and Ukraine? ”

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Fox News Digital reached out to Johnson’s press secretary to ask if the speaker plans to bring the House bill to a vote, but did not receive a response.

Meanwhile, a senior House Republican aide warned Fox News Digital that the plan may already be “stalled.” The aide pointed out that Republican hardliners are pushing none other than H.R. 2, the House Republican border bill that Democrats have denounced as a “miss.”

“They really want this to be a Republican bill, and getting a really stripped-down version of HR2 for Ukraine funds is not necessarily what they want,” House aides said. said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has repeatedly appealed to Congress for more aid. (Sven Hoppe/Photo in association with Getty Images)

Republican lawmakers opposed to aid to Ukraine have questioned corruption within Kiev’s government and say the United States has too many problems of its own to get involved in a conflict with Russia.


Indeed, passing the Ukraine aid bill would carry personal risks for Mr. Johnson. Conservatives who participate in his conference, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), say they would like to see him become speaker if he takes the floor. He has publicly threatened to expel him from the country.

But at least one Republican lawmaker suggested to Fox News Digital that the threat may be less significant than it appears.

“Some conservatives went home and went to hell because they weren’t.” [voting to vacate ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy]So now they’re trying to curb the heat with intense heat. [Johnson] before the primary,” the lawmaker said.



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