PoliticsTop StoryUS

Speaker Johnson negotiating with White House to advance Ukraine aid

House Speaker Mike Johnson is negotiating with the White House as he prepares for the treacherous task of advancing wartime funding for Ukraine and Israel through the House, a top House Republican said Thursday.

Quick Read

  • House Speaker Mike Johnson is delicately navigating negotiations with the White House over a contentious wartime funding package for Ukraine and Israel. His efforts are complicated by internal divisions within the Republican party and external pressures from presidential politics.
  • Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, is actively engaging with both the White House and former President Donald Trump, trying to align the package with GOP demands and secure enough support to move it forward in the House.
  • The proposed package diverges from the Senate’s $95 billion aid proposal, incorporating Republican amendments that could make it more palatable to party members who are skeptical of continued U.S. involvement abroad.
  • Amidst a backdrop of political maneuvering, Johnson’s leadership is under scrutiny from hardline conservatives within his party, including threats of a leadership challenge from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene if the Ukraine aid passes.
  • The Speaker’s complex task involves balancing the foreign policy views of Trump, who advocates for an isolationist approach, with the urgent international security needs cited by the Biden administration and other allies.
  • Discussions with the White House have explored structuring some aid to Kyiv as loans and leveraging frozen Russian assets, alongside domestic policy concessions like increasing Liquefied Natural Gas exports and border policy adjustments.
  • With the situation in Ukraine escalating and global stability at risk, Johnson’s ability to shepherd this package through a divided Congress will test his leadership and could define the legislative agenda in the lead-up to the next presidential election.

The Associated Press has the story:

Speaker Johnson negotiating with White House to advance Ukraine aid

Newslooks- WASHINGTON (AP) —

House Speaker Mike Johnson is negotiating with the White House as he prepares for the treacherous task of advancing wartime funding for Ukraine and Israel through the House, a top House Republican said Thursday.

House Republican Leader Steve Scalise told reporters that Johnson had been talking with White House officials about a package that would deviate from the Senate’s $95 billion foreign security package and include several Republican demands. It comes after Johnson has delayed for months on advancing aid that would provide desperately needed ammunition and weaponry for Kyiv, trying to find the right time to advance a package that will be a painful political lift.

Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks as House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday, April 10, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

“There’s been no agreement reached,” Scalise said. “Obviously there would have to an agreement reached not just with the White House, but with our own members.”

Johnson, R-La., is being stretched between a Republican conference deeply divided in its support for Ukraine, as well as two presidential contenders at odds over the U.S.’s posture towards the rest of the world. President Joe Biden has repeatedly chastised Republicans for not helping Ukraine, saying they are doing the bidding of Russian President Vladimir Putin and hurting U.S. security. Meanwhile, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate, has said he would negotiate an end to the conflict as he tries to push the U.S. to a more isolationist stance.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday, April 10, 2024, in Washington. Pictured from left are Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, Rep. Maria Salazar, R-Fla., Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La. and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

The Republican speaker is set to travel to the former president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on Friday to meet with Trump and has been consulting him in recent weeks on the Ukraine funding to gain his support — or at least prevent him from openly opposing the package.

Sen. Markwayne Mullin, an Oklahoma Republican who often works closely with House lawmakers, said this week he and Trump have spoken with Johnson “in depth” about how to advance Ukraine aid. It is not clear whether Trump would lend any political support, but Mullin said he was hoping to get the former president behind the package, especially now that Johnson’s job is at stake.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., flanked by Rep. Maria Salazar, R-Fla., left, and Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, has threatened to try to oust Johnson as speaker and warned that advancing funding for Ukraine would help build her case that GOP lawmakers should select a new speaker.

Meanwhile, Johnson has been in conversations with the White House about legislation that would structure some of the funding for Kyiv as loans, pave the way for the U.S. to tap frozen Russian central bank assets and include other policy changes.

Johnson has also been pushing for the Biden administration to lift a pause on approvals for Liquefied Natural Gas exports. At times, he has also demanded policy changes at the U.S. border with Mexico.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., waits to raise the gavel to formally conclude a joint meeting of Congress after Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida finished an address in the House chamber, Thursday, April 11, 2024, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“This becomes a more dangerous world with Russia in Kyiv,” said Rep. Don Bacon, a Republican who supports aiding Ukraine. “So we’re just got to find a the smart way to get a bill passed that we can get out and back to the Senate.”

Still, Johnson is facing a practically open rebellion from a group of hardline House conservatives who are dissatisfied with the way he has led the House. With a narrow and divided majority, Johnson has been forced to work with Democrats to advance practically any major legislation.

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said Thursday that the “only path forward” for the House was a vote on the Senate’s national security package. He also suggested that Democrats would help Johnson hold onto the speaker’s gavel if he did so.

While Democrats have pressured Johnson to put the Senate package to a vote, they also may be divided on a vote as a growing number oppose sending Israel offensive weaponry while it engages in a campaign in Gaza that has killed thousands of civilians.

The Biden administration, which would administer any military funding, has issued stern warnings to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that future U.S. support depends on the swift implementation of new steps to protect civilians and aid workers.

“If we want to prevent handing Putin a victory in Europe, the House should do the right thing for democracy and pass the Senate’s aid package now,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a floor speech Thursday.

Read more U.S. news

Previous Article
House will try again to reauthorize of US spy program after Republican upheaval
Next Article
Trump to host embattled Speaker Johnson as House swirls in turmoil

How useful was this article?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this article.

Latest News