Speaker Johnson Tells Colleagues He’ll Allow a Vote on the Ukraine Aid Bill in April

Shawn Thew/Pool via AP

Speaker Mike Johnson is telling colleagues and leaders in both parties that he will put the $95 billion military aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan on the floor for a vote shortly after the House returns from Easter Recess on April 9. When the Senate passed the aid bill on February 13, Speaker Johnson said that without a border security element, the bill was dead on arrival.


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As I posted at the time, as Johnson had a four-vote margin, it was difficult to see how he made his promise stick.


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This is the state of play. According to Axios, Johnson has told Democrats and Republicans that he will bring the bill up for a vote.

The House Democrat leadership is sponsoring a discharge petition to force Johnson to allow a vote on the bill. The best count I have is the petition is 29 votes short of the 218 needed. However, when Members return from recess, the House leadership will do some aggressive whipping to get signatures. Ultimately, I think the discharge petition gets the 218 it needs to force a vote, and I think Johnson knows this is the case.

Johnson has a one-vote margin with the resignations of Mike Gallagher and Ken Buck and that will undoubtedly shrink. On his way out, Buck said there were three more resignations in the works. He will never be stronger in this Congress than he is right now so rather than be forced by Democrats to allow a vote, he’ll search for some way to control the process.


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Marjorie Taylor Greene, a reflexive anti-Ukraine vote, has filed a “motion to vacate” against Speaker Johnson.


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I’m not sure what this is supposed to do other than get social media attention. The only reason Kevin McCarthy was ousted was because of Democrat votes. Hakeem Jeffries has said his caucus will support Johnson. As far as I can see, the only useful thing this motion will do is to allow Johnson to identify the members in his own caucus he can’t rely on.

There is one last game to be played.

I don’t think five bills are doable because I don’t believe House Republicans have the skill or motivation to do the work. I can see Johnson bringing three bills — Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan — to the floor. This would have a lot to be said for it. The all three bills will easily pass the two-thirds threshold. The standalone Israel bill will give the Pro-Terrorist caucus an escape hatch so they can vote for Ukraine and against Israel. It will also be a useful metric for measuring the sincerity of the “no foreign aid without border security” group. My suspicion is that they will vote for Israel aid but against Ukraine aid, thereby proving what I’ve said for about three months which is their only foreign aid objection is to aid for Ukraine. 


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