Economy

Third House Republican calls for Speaker Johnson’s ouster over $95B foreign aid plan

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A third House Republican lawmaker is jumping on board the effort to oust Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., over his plan for foreign aid.

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., released a statement shortly after Johnson’s plan – four bills that amount to $95 billion in spending – survived a key procedural vote on the House floor with more Democratic support than Republican.

He bashed House GOP leaders for not linking his foreign aid proposal, particularly a bill sending money to Ukraine, to U.S. border security measures – frustration shared by other conservative foreign aid skeptics who voted to block the plan from getting a vote on final passage.

‘[R]ather than spending the resources to secure our southern border and combating the invasion of 11 million illegals and despite repeated promises there would be no additional money going to Ukraine without first securing our border, the United States House of Representatives, under the direction of the Speaker, is on the verge of sending another $61 billion to further draw America into an endless and purposeless war in Ukraine,’ Gosar said in a statement.

‘I have added my name in support of the motion to vacate the Speaker. Our border cannot be an afterthought.  We need a Speaker who puts America first rather than bending to the reckless demands of the warmongers, neo-cons and the military industrial complex making billions from a costly and endless war half a world away.’

He signed onto a resolution filed by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., last month in protest of Johnson’s handling of foreign aid and government spending, known as a motion to vacate – under current House rules, just one lawmaker is needed to file it to trigger a House-wide vote on booting the speaker.

Greene refused to discuss the motion to vacate with reporters after the foreign aid vote on Friday. She posted on X soon after, however, ‘And now there are three. Thank you to [Paul Gosar] for cosponsoring my motion to vacate Speaker Johnson!’

House leaders do not have to put Greene’s resolution up for a vote unless she files it at ‘privileged,’ at which point it’s required that lawmakers act on it within two legislative days.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., signed onto Greene’s resolution earlier this week after a closed-door GOP lawmaker meeting where he threatened to call for Johnson’s ouster if he did not step aside after the House floor vote on his foreign aid plan, expected on Saturday.

Johnson has faced furious pushback from the right flank of his conference over most of his plan, particularly sending $60 billion to Ukraine, which has become a politically fraught topic for much of the GOP.

Those same foreign aid hawks have objected to some of the Israel funding being aimed at humanitarian aid in Gaza, though its inclusion was critical to winning Democratic support. In a victory for Republicans, however, it prevents any of the Israel-Gaza funding from going toward the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), a Palestinian refugee agency alleged to have ties to Hamas.

Conservative rebels also decried House GOP leaders’ decision to combine the four bills into one before sending it to the Senate, arguing it amounted to the same $95 billion foreign aid package the Democrat-majority chamber passed earlier this year and which House Republicans oppose. Johnson has argued that packaging them together for the Senate would prevent them from neglecting the Israel bill at a time when the issue has divided the Democratic Party.

In the end, more Democrats supported advancing the package to a final vote than Republicans – the numbers were 165 and 151, respectively.

‘I would say that I definitely understand the sentiment,’ Rep. Eli Crane, R-Ariz., one of the Republicans who voted to block the rule, told reporters about threats to oust Johnson. ‘I’ve told the speaker myself, the American people don’t expect us to win all the time, but they expect us to fight. They don’t see us doing that. They don’t see him doing that.’

However, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good, R-Va., one of eight House Republicans who voted to oust Johnson’s predecessor in early October, told reporters it was ‘not the most prudent’ time to boot another leader.

‘We’re six months before the election, we’ve got a two or three vote margin. There’s a far greater degree of uncertainty in that situation than there was back in September,’ Good said.

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