Speaker Johnson Issues Warning Ahead of Senate Vote on Ukraine Aid

Speaker Johnson fires warning shot as Senate prepares to vote on Ukraine aid

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) issued a sharp rebuke of the Senate’s foreign aid package on Monday night, criticizing the $95.3 billion supplemental as the upper chamber neared a final vote on the legislation.

In a statement, Johnson condemned the package for its omission of border security provisions, stating that “the Senate’s foreign aid bill is silent on the most pressing issue facing our country.” He indicated that he may not bring the bill to the floor for a vote if it clears the upper chamber.

“In the absence of any border policy change from the Senate, the House will need to continue addressing these important matters on its own,” Johnson asserted. “America deserves better than the Senate’s status quo.”

Johnson’s criticism coincided with the Senate’s advancement of the foreign aid supplemental, which includes funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Indo-Pacific allies, through a series of three procedural votes.

Speaker Johnson Issues Warning Ahead of Senate Vote on Ukraine Aid
Speaker Johnson Issues Warning Ahead of Senate Vote on Ukraine Aid (Credits: CBS 42)

This marks the second time this month that Johnson has expressed skepticism towards a foreign aid package from the Senate, further clouding the fate of Ukraine aid on Capitol Hill—a contentious issue within the Republican Party and particularly the House GOP conference.

Former President Trump has urged Republican lawmakers to reject additional aid for Ukraine, aligning with his “America First” agenda, while Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has threatened a motion to vacate against Johnson if Ukraine aid is brought to the floor.

For months, Johnson has insisted that any aid for Ukraine must be tied to border security legislation, appealing to GOP lawmakers wary of additional assistance to Kyiv. However, despite a bipartisan Senate deal on border security legislation earlier this month meant to unlock Ukraine aid, Johnson dismissed the package, arguing that it wouldn’t address issues at the southern border, a sentiment echoed by conservatives.

This backlash derailed the package, prompting Senate leaders to bring a foreign aid bill to the floor without border security provisions—a move now rejected by Johnson, who demands consideration of H.R. 2, a conservative border security bill passed by House Republicans last year.

“House Republicans made it clear from the outset that any national security supplemental legislation must prioritize border security,” Johnson emphasized. “The House acted months ago by passing the Secure Our Border Act, but since then, the Senate has failed to act.”

Instead of advancing the foreign aid bill, Johnson insisted that the Senate should have revised the current bill to include meaningful border security provisions. He also called for accountability measures in discussions about aid for Ukraine and urged the Biden administration to clarify its strategy in the ongoing conflict.

Despite Johnson’s rejection of the Senate bill, its fate in the House remains uncertain. Lawmakers could compel the bill to the floor through a discharge petition, requiring bipartisan support, though some progressive lawmakers may withdraw their support due to objections over aid for Israel without conditions.

Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) indicated discussions with House lawmakers about using a discharge petition to advance the foreign aid bill.

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