Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson on Sunday confirmed plans to take up an Israel aid bill this week — putting him on a collision course with the Biden administration, which wants a broader package that includes Ukraine funding.Shortly after taking the reins as speaker last week, Johnson, (R-La.) called for Congress to “bifurcate” Israeli and Ukrainian support. “We’re going to move a standalone Israel funding bill this week in the House,” he said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.” “We believe that that is a pressing and urgent need.”President Biden had sought to pair Israel and Ukraine funding in order to increase the odds of wrangling additional Ukraine aid through a skeptical GOP-controlled House of Representatives. The White House rolled out a sprawling $106 billion supplemental package earlier this month, seeking $61.4 billion for Ukraine, $14.3 billion for Israel, $14 billion for immigration enforcement, and $16.55 for other issues such as Taiwan. Johnson has previously teased plans to pursue $14.5 billion for Israel, a notch higher than what Biden has sought. He also wanted that package to be offset by spending cuts elsewhere. The Louisiana Republican, who spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, underscored the need to marshal support to the warn-torn ally expeditiously. Johnson has voted against Ukraine aid on at least two occasions, including in September, and voted against a $39.8 billion measure in May of last year.Sill, he has backed Ukraine in its bid to stave off Russian invaders. “We can’t allow Vladimir Putin to prevail in Ukraine because I don’t believe it would stop there and it would probably encourage China to make a move on China. We’re not going to abandoned them,” Johnson told Fox News’ Sean Hannity last week. The House passed a resolution last Wednesday affirming support for Israel in its war with Hamas, marking the first legislation to clear the lower chamber since Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was ousted as speaker on Oct. 3. Johnson expressed interest in reforming the motion to vacate – the parliamentary tool Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) deployed to stage a coup against McCarthy.“Everyone has told me that — that rule has to change,” Johnson, who backed McCarthy, said Sunday.“I’m not afraid of it, because I’m going to openly work transparently and with every member… But the rule makes it difficult for any speaker to do their job.”Johnson has also signaled support for passing a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown on Nov. 17.McCarthy’s decision to take up the stopgap measure to forestall a shutdown last month appears to have been the catalyst for Gaetz’s push to oust him.So far, no members appear to be publicly threatening to oust Johnson if he does employ a continuing resolution. And Johnson said he wants to fund the government through the conventional 12 appropriations bills. “We’re moving them as quickly as possible and trying to meet that deadline,” he said. “If indeed we come to November 17 and we’re unable to finish that, because it’s detailed work and it takes some time, we will look at another stopgap measure.”The speaker also sought to allay concerns about House Republicans being gripped by dysfunction and chaos. “We’re working like a well-oiled machine. We passed one of the appropriations bills just a day after I assumed the gavel. And that was the energy and water bill. We have three more teed up for this next week,” he went on.When asked about scandal plagued Hunter Biden, Johnson was noncommittal about backing serving the first son with a subpoena. “I am looking at that,” he replied. “Desperate times call for desperate measures, and that perhaps is overdue. We have not made a full decision yet.”
30 Ekim 2023 - 00:10
House Speaker Mike Johnson aims to pass Israel aid package this week — teeing up showdown with Biden
Newly christened House Speaker Mike Johnson confirmed plans to take up a standalone Israel aid package this week, pitting him on a collision course with the Biden administration.
30 Ekim 2023 - 00:10