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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

Senate warns Speaker Johnson against changes to foreign aid package

Apr 16

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is moving forward with a vote on four separate foreign aid bills. Three of the bills would provide funding for Israel, Ukraine and the Indo-Pacific Region. The fourth bill contains Republican priorities like measures to allow the U.S. government to transfer seized Russian assets to fund Ukraine’s reconstruction. The bill would also turn aid for Ukraine into a loan

The Senate passed a $95 billion dollar foreign aid package in February. The chamber sent it over to the House, where it has been sitting ever since. Senators are now warning Johnson not to make changes to what they passed, otherwise, they’d have to reapprove it.

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Democrats want the House to pass their bill as is.

“If there are changes then it becomes unacceptable because we have to vote on it again,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said. “I think that the speaker should simply do the Senate bill, do his job, quit dallying and stalling and do the bill that was approved by an overwhelming bipartisan majority.”  

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, N.C., was open to separating the Senate bill into multiple parts. He also warned against making changes to the substance. 

“I don’t care how the sausage is made, we just need something that needs to go to the president’s desk,” Tillis said. “Hopefully it’s something that we can accept as is and send along because I think going back and forth between chambers could constitute a lot of time, and we don’t have a lot of time in Ukraine.”

Tillis also said it is better for the House to send whatever it passes to the Senate in one piece. According to Punchbowl News, Johnson is exploring a procedure that would merge the bills together before they go to the Senate.

Johnson needs Democratic support to get these bills to the floor and approved. House Democrats warned Johnson that he won’t receive that support if there is no humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza. 

“The Senate bipartisan bill had four components: aid to Israel, aid to Ukraine, humanitarian assistance and aid to Indo-Pacific,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said. “If Speaker Johnson’s version is missing one of these components it’s highly unlikely that Democrats would support it.”

The announcement of a foreign aid vote was enough to get Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., to ask Johnson to resign. He joined Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s, R-Ga., motion to vacate, which would force a vote on ousting Johnson.  

“I am not resigning,” Johnson told reporters. “And it is, in my view, an absurd notion that someone would bring a vacate motion when we are simply here trying to do our jobs. It is not helpful to the cause, it is not helpful to the country, it does not help the House Republicans advance our agenda.” 

If a motion to vacate is officially brought forward for a vote, multiple House Democrats said they would vote to save Johnson.

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[RAY BOGAN]

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is moving forward with a vote on four separate foreign aid bills, three of which would provide funding for Israel, Ukraine, and the Indo-Pacific Region. The fourth contains Republican priorities like a measure to allow the US government to transfer seized Russian assets to fund Ukraine’s reconstruction and turn aid for the country into a loan. 

The Senate passed a $95 billion dollar foreign aid package in February and sent it over to the House where it’s been sitting ever since. Senators are now warning Johnson not to make changes to what they passed, otherwise they’d have to reapprove it. 

Democrats want the House to pass their bill as is. 

[Sen. Richard Blumenthal]

“If there are changes then it becomes unacceptable because we have to vote on it again,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said. “I think that the speaker should simply do the Senate bill, do his job, quit dallying and stalling and do the bill that was approved by an overwhelming bipartisan majority.”  

[RAY BOGAN]

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, N.C., was open to separating the Senate bill into multiple parts, but also warned against making changes to the substance. 

[Sen. Thom Tillis, N.C.]

“I don’t care how the sausage is made, we just need something that needs to go to the President’s desk. Hopefully it’s something that we can accept as is and send along because I think going back and forth between chambers could constitute a lot of time, and we don’t have a lot of time in Ukraine,” Sen. Tillis said. 

[RAY BOGAN]

Tillis also said it is also better for the House to send whatever they ultimately pass to the Senate in one piece. According to Punchbowl News, the speaker is exploring a procedure which would merge all individual bills together before they are sent to the Senate. 

Johnson is going to need Democratic support to get these bills to the floor and approved. House Democrats are warning Johnson that he won’t receive that support if there is no humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza. 

[Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif.]

“The Senate bipartisan bill had four components: aid to Israel, aid to Ukraine, humanitarian assistance and aid to Indo-Pacific. If Speaker Johnson’s version is missing one of these components it’s highly unlikely that Democrats would support it,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said. 

[RAY BOGAN]

Just the announcement of a vote on the foreign aid was enough to get Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., to ask Johnson to resign and join Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s, R-Ga., motion to vacate, which would force a vote on ousting Johnson.  

[Speaker Mike Johnson]

“I am not resigning. And it is, in my view, an absurd notion that someone would bring a vacate motion when we are simply here trying to do our jobs,” Speaker Mike Johnson told reporters. “It is not helpful to the cause, it is not helpful to the country, it does not help the House Republicans advance our agenda.” 

[RAY BOGAN]

If a motion to vacate is officially brought forward for a vote, multiple House Democrats said they would vote to save Johnson.