Johnson makes his long-awaited move on Ukraine as House plans to vote on separate aid packages

Apr 15, 2024, 6:24 PM

House Speaker Mike Johnson holds a news conference following a House GOP caucus meeting at the US C...

House Speaker Mike Johnson holds a news conference following a House GOP caucus meeting at the US Capitol on April 10, in Washington, D.C. (Samuel Corum, Getty Images via CNN )Newsource

(Samuel Corum, Getty Images via CNN )

(CNN) — Speaker Mike Johnson announced Monday evening the House will take up separate bills this week to provide aid for Israel and Ukraine, heeding demands from the far right to keep the issues separate as the threat of a vote to oust him from the speakership looms.

The long-awaited decision by Johnson marks a pivotal moment for the Louisiana Republican as he has faced intense pressure from his conference over how he would handle foreign aid to the key US allies.

Johnson predicted the House will vote Friday evening on the separate bills.

“There are precipitating events around the globe that we’re all watching very carefully,” Johnson told reporters after a GOP conference meeting Monday evening. “And we know that the world is watching us to see how we react.”

Despite the speaker’s attempt to thread the needle, however, GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who continues to dangle the threat of a vote on Johnson’s ouster, was quick to criticize the foreign aid plan.

“I am firmly against the plan as it stands right now,” Greene told reporters, though when asked whether she would force a vote on the motion to vacate as a result, she said, “I haven’t decided on that yet.”

No concerns about being voted out

Johnson dismissed concerns over a vote to oust him by his conservative flank if he moves on aid to Ukraine, telling CNN, “I don’t spend my time worrying about motions to vacate. We’re having to govern here and we’re going to do our job.”

In addition to aid for Israel and Ukraine, Johnson said in a post on X that the bills would support allies in the Indo-Pacific and there would be additional measures to “counter our adversaries and strengthen our national security.”

But Republican leaders could still take procedural steps to send all those pieces as one package to the Senate, which could enrage the right wing of the House GOP conference.

Johnson left open the possibility that the bills could ultimately be packaged together, setting up a potential fight with the right flank.

“We’re discussing whether they would be merged together in one package that’s sent to the Senate or if it goes over as individual measures,” Johnson said. “My personal preference is to do it individually, but we’ll let the body decide.”

Among the ways GOP leaders plan to address Ukraine aid: a bill to seize Russian assets, a lend-lease program for Ukraine military aid and convertible loans for humanitarian relief.

Former President Donald Trump, who recently met with House Speaker Mike Johnson at Mar-a-Lago, has expressed openness to structuring Ukraine aid as a loan.

Demands of Johnson

GOP Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma told CNN that Johnson is allowing germane amendment votes on these bills as well – a process that far right Republicans had been demanding of Johnson.

In the wake of Iran’s unprecedented retaliatory strikes on Israel, Democrats have called on Johnson to bring up a Senate-passed foreign aid package that includes aid to Israel and Ukraine, but hardline conservatives have urged the Louisiana Republican against attaching Ukraine funding to any Israel aid package – a warning that comes as the speaker faces the threat of a potential vote to oust him from his leadership post.

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries urged immediate passage of the foreign aid package passed by the Senate in a new letter to colleagues.

“The gravely serious events of this past weekend in the Middle East and Eastern Europe underscore the need for Congress to act immediately. We must take up the bipartisan and comprehensive national security bill passed by the Senate forthwith,” Jeffries wrote.

In November, the House passed a bill to provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel, but Democrats objected to the fact that the bill did not include aid to Ukraine and would enact funding cuts to the Internal Revenue Service.

The Senate passed its bill in February – a $95.3 billion foreign aid bill with assistance for Ukraine, Israel and other priorities.

Opposed to further aid to Ukraine

A significant number of House Republicans are opposed to sending further aid to Ukraine. Now, Johnson faces the most significant threat to his speakership to date after GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is among those who oppose additional Ukraine aid, filed a motion against him that could be used to force a vote on his ouster.

Greene told CNN on Monday that Trump’s backing of Johnson during a Friday press conference will not deter her from moving to oust the speaker.

“No, no, and as a matter of fact, there’s more people that are probably going to be angry from whatever happens this week,” she said.

Later, Greene said, “He’s definitely not going to be speaker next Congress if we’re lucky enough to have a majority. I think that is a widely held belief throughout the Congress.”

Asked if she thinks he’ll remain speaker for the remainder of the current session of Congress, the congresswoman said, “That is to be determined. Like I said, I’m still processing.”

Johnson called Greene’s decision to file the motion to vacate a “distraction” during an interview on Fox News.

“That’s a distraction. What Marjorie has done with the motion to vacate is not helpful for our party, for our mission to save the country, because if we don’t grow the House majority, keep the House majority, win the Senate and win back the White House for President Trump, we’re going to lose the republic,” he said.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

FILE - In this image taken from San Francisco Police Department body-camera video, the husband of f...

Olga R. Rodriguez, Associated Press

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer

A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for attacking the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer.

11 hours ago

This photo provided by Vermont State University shows Max the Cat stands in front of Woodruff Hall ...

Associated Press

A college puts the ‘cat’ into ‘education’ by giving Max an honorary ‘doctor of litter-ature’ degree

A Vermont university has bestowed the honorary degree of “doctor of litter-ature” on a cat named Max who has become a beloved member of its community.

13 hours ago

RCMP Superintendent serious crimes branch David Hall speaks about Alberta RCMP linking four histori...

Rob Gillies, Associated Press

Dead US serial sex offender linked to 4 slain Canadian young women

Canadian police say they have linked the deaths of four young women nearly 50 years ago to a now deceased U.S. fugitive who hid in Canada from the mid 1970s to the late 1990s.

13 hours ago

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 04:  Sesame Street characters Ernie, Bert, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Zoe and Cookie M...

Emma Benson

‘Elmo loves you!’ Our favorite red Muppet stars in mental health campaign

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we all deal with stress and different emotions. In January, Elmo asked a simple question online that sparked a huge conversation.

15 hours ago

Airplane overhead lockers are designed to accomodate luggage -- not people.
Mandatory Credit:	coffe...

Francesca Street, CNN

An airplane passenger was spotted in an overhead bin. This was the reaction

Last week, a video was posted on TikTok appearing to depict a traveler peering out from inside an overhead locker. The airline said they're looking into it.

16 hours ago

FILE - This undated photo provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sho...

Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer

We’ve crawled into tick season. Tips to protect yourself

Tick season is starting across the U.S., and experts are warning the bloodsuckers may be as plentiful as ever. That's because of a another mild U.S. winter.

19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Johnson makes his long-awaited move on Ukraine as House plans to vote on separate aid packages