Economy

Johnson says House will consider border bill alongside foreign aid after GOP rebellion threats

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Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is having the House vote on a border security bill alongside his proposal for foreign aid after its lack of measures to deal with the U.S. migrant crisis spurred threats of rebellion from his fellow Republicans.

‘After significant Member feedback and discussion, the House Rules Committee will be posting soon today the text of three bills that will fund America’s national security interests and allies in Israel, the Indo-Pacific, and Ukraine, including a loan structure for aid, and enhanced strategy and accountability,’ Johnson told GOP lawmakers.

Those three bills total $95.34 billion in proposed foreign aid – $60.84 billion for Ukraine, $26.38 billion for Israel, and $8.12 billion for the Indo-Pacific – roughly the same as the Senate’s bipartisan foreign aid package passed in February. It also includes provisions like banning funds for United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which aids Palestinian refugees.

A fourth bill would combine miscellaneous national security priorities, including the House’s recently passed bill that could pave the way to a TikTok ban and the REPO Act, a bipartisan measure to liquefy seized Russian assets and send that money to Ukraine, as well as ‘sanctions and other measures to confront Russia, China, and Iran,’ according to Johnson.

‘The Rules Committee will also be posting text on a border security bill that includes the core components of H.R.2,’ Johnson said.

H.R.2 is a comprehensive border security bill passed by House Republicans last year, which includes measures like the Trump administration-era ‘Remain In Mexico’ policy and would expand expulsion authorities for law enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats have panned H.R.2 as a nonstarter.

The border security bill would move through the House Rules Committee separately from his four foreign aid bills, but each is being teed up for a Saturday evening vote.

Johnson said lawmakers would be able to submit amendments for all five pieces of legislation as well. 

It comes as he’s also dealing with threats led by Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Thomas Massie, R-Ky., to oust him from power over the foreign funding. But Congress has been under mounting pressure to find a way forward in aiding Israel and Ukraine as conflicts in both regions escalate at an alarming rate.

That proposal, unveiled Monday, almost immediately got pushback from House Republicans who demanded that he leverage their razor-thin majority to include U.S. border policy provisions alongside any foreign aid. 

But the rebellious flank of his conference is already signaling that his new plan may not be enough – and that Johnson will need to seek help from Democrats to advance his foreign aid plans.

‘Anything less than tying Ukraine aid to real border security fails to live up to [Johnson’s] own words just several weeks ago. Our constituents demand – and deserve – more from us,’ Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., wrote on X.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, similarly said, ‘The Republican Speaker of the House is seeking a rule to pass almost $100 billion in foreign aid – while unquestionably, dangerous criminals, terrorists, & fentanyl pour across our border. The border ‘vote’ in this package is a watered-down dangerous cover vote. I will oppose.’

And Heritage Action, a key conservative group, is warning that it’s against Johnson’s idea to combine the four foreign aid bills before sending them to the Senate. 

‘While each bill may receive individual votes, any effort to combine the measures before sending them to the Senate undermines the intent to consider the bills on their own merits. Attempting to circumvent accountability for a vote on any of the individual bills with the understanding that they will be combined on the back end is disingenuous for members who claim to oppose the Senate-passed foreign aid supplemental,’ the group said,

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