Political Firestorm: Speaker Johnson Facing FIERCE Rebellion Over Foreign Aid Bills

By Tommy Wilson | Wednesday, 17 April 2024 11:59 PM
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In a display of fiery determination, Speaker Mike Johnson has vehemently refused to step down from his position, despite mounting pressure from fellow Republicans.

The calls for his resignation stem from his advocacy for foreign aid without the inclusion of border security measures.

Representative Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, has announced his intention to join Representative Marjorie Taylor Green, a Republican from Georgia, in her campaign to strip Johnson of his speakership. This move comes after Massie had previously requested Johnson's resignation.

Johnson has been facing criticism from his Republican colleagues due to his decision to introduce four foreign aid and national security bills to the House floor. These bills, which aim to fund Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific, do not include any border security measures.

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"He's going to lose more votes than Kevin McCarthy," Massie predicted to reporters, referring to the former Speaker who was ousted by eight GOP members last fall.

However, Johnson remained defiant in the face of Massie's threats, telling reporters, "I am not resigning. It is, in my view, an absurd notion," referring to the motion to vacate.

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"I regard myself as a war-time speaker," Johnson declared, addressing the renewed efforts to remove him from his position. "I didn't think this would be an easy path."

Interestingly, some Democrats have indicated they would vote against the Greene motion, which could alter the number of GOP votes Johnson could afford to lose.

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"I'm not inclined to support a motion to vacate," top Armed Services Democrat Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington, told DailyMail.com.

"Massie wants the world to burn, I won’t stand by and watch. I have a bucket of water," Representative Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat from Florida, wrote on X.

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Earlier, Massie had urged Johnson to "pre-announce his resignation," similar to the actions of former Speaker John Boehner, "so we can pick a new Speaker without ever being without a GOP Speaker," he wrote on X.

Massie believes there is "no shortage of people" who could perform better than Johnson as Speaker.

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"We went through this last fall. It took two days and then we ended up with somebody nobody in America ever heard of," he added.

The fourth bill under consideration reportedly includes several measures such as requiring TikTok to divest from its Chinese-owned parent company, an effort to obtain seized Russian assets, a lend-lease program for military aid to Ukraine, and loans for humanitarian aid.

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All four bills would be grouped together under the same 'rule' to advance them to the House floor for final passage this week before moving to the Senate.

The fourth bill includes a provision involving the REPO Act, which would seize Russian assets that until now have only been frozen, and one that would involve the Lend-Lease Act, which would require Ukraine to return U.S. military assets that are not destroyed in war.

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Several Republicans are incensed that the bill does not include a single border provision, despite Johnson's repeated assertions over the past few months that he would not fund Ukraine without border security.

"[Johnson] failed to incorporate any border security into any of the FOUR of the bills he’s going to ram down our throats this week. On more than half a dozen occasions in the last six months, he promised the American People this wouldn’t happen," Representative Scott Perry, a Republican from Pennsylvania, wrote on X.

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On Monday evening, Johnson noted that approximately 65 percent of the package is simply replenishing U.S. stockpiles that have been depleted, from providing arms to Ukraine to defending Israel from Iran's attacks.

The package is expected to be valued at around $95 billion in total. On the defense side, $14 billion would go to Israel, $48 billion would go to Ukraine, $5 billion would go to Indo-Pacific Command, and $3 billion would go to the submarine industrial base, according to a source familiar with House leadership's plans.

The package is also expected to include humanitarian aid in the form of a loan.

White House spokesperson John Kirby told reporters Tuesday that they are waiting to see Johnson's plan 'in more detail' before making a determination.

"The important thing is that the House moves this week to help us get security assistance for Israel, Ukraine, and also for the Indo-Pacific they need to move this week," he said.

The text of the bill had not been released as of early Tuesday afternoon. However, Johnson assured members they would have a full 72 hours to review before voting.

Conservative hardliners had previously warned Johnson against attaching any Ukraine funding to an Israel aid bill.

"Under no circumstances will the House Freedom Caucus abide using the emergency situation in Israel as a bogus justification to ram through Ukraine aid with no offset and no security for our own wide-open borders," the conservative hardliner Freedom Caucus stated on Monday.

Despite the looming threat of Greene's resolution to oust him, Johnson has charted a path forward on foreign aid.

When Iran launched a barrage of attacks on Israel over the weekend, Johnson cleared the House calendar to finally act on funding for the embattled U.S. allies around the world.

With the Republicans' razor-thin majority, Johnson can only afford to lose three Republicans and keep his job, unless Democrats vote to save him.

Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries has suggested they would if Johnson does what Democrats want: passes the $95 billion supplemental.

Johnson told reporters he 'believes' he'll be able to pass a rule to allow debate for each bill. Passing a rule typically requires nearly all Republican buy-in since the minority party usually does not vote for a rule.

Hardliner Republicans have used the tactic of voting against the rule to paralyze House business seven times this Congress.

The other option would be to put the bills up under suspension, which would mean they would need a two-thirds majority to pass.

Johnson also said he wants to honor the 72-hour rule and give members three days to read the text of the legislation. 'That probably puts us into perhaps Friday evening,' Johnson said.

Democrats and Republicans have remained at an impasse as the White House has made clear President Joe Biden does not support a package with aid for only Israel.

Johnson tabled plans for 'appliance week,' where the House GOP would vote on messaging bills to push back on Biden's kitchen appliance regulations, so the House could work on legislation targeting Iran with sanctions and foreign aid for Israel.

Johnson put the $17 billion Israel-only aid package on the House floor in February, but it failed to garner the two-thirds majority it needed to pass under suspension.

"We're going to try again this week, and the details of that package are being put together right now," he said on Sunday. "We're looking at the options and all these supplemental issues."

The House passed a $14 billion aid package for Israel in October, but the deal was offset by cuts to IRS funding that led to its demise in the Democrat-led Senate.

Israel has deemed Iran's 350-missile attack a 'declaration of war,' though it said 99 percent of the missiles were intercepted.

The attack was in response to Israel's drone strike in Syria that killed 12 Iranians, including two top generals.

The Senate-passed bill included both humanitarian and military aid: $61 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel in its war against Hamas, and $4.83 billion to support partners in the Indo-Pacific.

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