Home News Johnson Turns to Democrats to Bring Up Ukraine Aid Bill in the House

Johnson Turns to Democrats to Bring Up Ukraine Aid Bill in the House

Johnson Turns to Democrats to Bring Up Ukraine Aid Bill in the House


House Republicans are looking to Democrats on Friday to help them push past their own party’s opposition and supply crucial votes to bring up the long-stalled foreign aid bill for Ukraine and Israel.

A critical vote on the House floor was scheduled for Friday morning after the G.O.P. was forced to rely on Democratic votes late Thursday night to move the package out of the powerful Rules Committee over Republican objections — an extraordinary turn of events in a panel that usually operates strictly along party lines.

Democratic votes will also be needed on Friday to pass a procedural measure, known as a rule, to allow the aid package to be brought up, in what is expected to be yet another unorthodox vote in the face of Republican opposition.

The rule is critical to Mr. Johnson’s plan to push the foreign aid package through the House, because it would allow separate votes on aid to Israel and aid to Ukraine, which are supported by different coalitions, but then would fold them together without requiring lawmakers to cast an up-or-down vote on the entire bill.

That makes it the only all-or-nothing vote that lawmakers will face on the foreign aid package, in many ways making it more important than any of the votes on the individual pieces of the plan. The measure also includes aid to Taiwan and a package of sweeteners including a bill to require the sale of TikTok by its Chinese owner or ban the app in the United States.

The rule also would tee up roughly half a dozen floor votes on proposed changes to the aid package, including one by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, to zero out all funding for Ukraine, and another by Representative Kat Cammack, Republican of Florida, that would eliminate all nonmilitary funding for Kyiv.

The action was unfolding only hours after Republicans banded together with Democrats to take a major step Thursday night toward bringing up the bill. A 9-to-3 bipartisan vote in the Rules Committee was the part of the convoluted process the House is expected to go through over the next couple of days to approve the $95 billion aid package. It reflected the extent of far-right anger over Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan to push through the legislation over the opposition of ultraconservative Republicans, and underscored how heavily the speaker is relying on Democrats to push it across the finish line.

In a spasm of anger, three far-right Republicans on the panel, which controls what legislation comes to the House floor, refused to back the rule needed to bring up the foreign aid bill, putting it on track to die in committee. But Democrats on the panel stepped in to save it in an extraordinary breach of custom.

The Rules Committee has traditionally been an organ of the speaker, and legislation is typically advanced to the floor in a straight party-line vote. This time, all of the Democrats voted to advance the plan.

The three Republicans on the panel who sought to block the measure were Representatives Chip Roy of Texas, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky.

The trio won their seats on the Rules panel as part of a concession made last year by the speaker at the time, Kevin McCarthy, who had to haggle with ultraconservatives who opposed electing him to the top post and agreed to back him only after he granted them critical leverage. They refused to support the measure to bring up the foreign aid package because it would not allow a vote on severe border security provisions they have said should be prioritized over aiding Ukraine.

That amounted to a remarkable act of rebellion, and left Democrats to bail out the speaker and push the measure through the panel.

Mr. Johnson has scheduled House votes on the aid package for Saturday.

“I’d rather send bullets to Ukraine than American boys,” he said in an interview on Newsmax on Thursday night. “We don’t want to have boots on the ground, and we can prevent that by allowing them to hold Putin at bay.”


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