House Speaker discusses new Ukraine aid package with Republicans – CNN

Mike Johnson. Stock photo: Getty Images
Mike Johnson. Stock photo: Getty Images
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

US House Speaker Mike Johnson has held private meetings with Republicans on a new bipartisan foreign aid package, particularly for Ukraine, which includes restrictions on the US border with Mexico.

Source: CNN

Details: CNN notes that Johnson scuttled a bipartisan aid package for Ukraine proposed by the Senate but left the opportunity for a new proposal that has emerged in the House of Representatives.

Johnson has held private meetings with House Republicans who have been trying to garner support for a new bipartisan foreign aid package that includes restrictions on the US border with Mexico. Now House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul is taking the lead in trying to finalise the proposal and build consensus to get it to the floor by the end of March or in April.

The article says that Johnson has not yet taken a position on the new plan or committed to bringing it to the floor for a vote, telling his colleagues that they must first complete work on government funding legislation.

But once this process is completed by mid-March, Republican supporters of the plan believe that Johnson will allow it to come to a vote, although he risks a backlash from extreme right-wing members of Congress or even a vote to remove him from the speaker's post.

However, CNN notes that getting the bill through the House of Representatives remains an extremely difficult task. Republicans are deeply divided over Ukraine, and former President Donald Trump could effectively kill the bill with a single post on social media.

"Plus, ample Democratic support would be needed to pass it – a tall order given that the package includes new border restrictions and aid to Israel that would likely prompt a revolt on the left," the text says.

Supporters of the package say that with Russia making gains in Ukraine, it is necessary to act immediately. McCaul, who briefed Republicans in the Speaker's office last week on the new plan, told CNN that Johnson has been "very deliberate." Other backers of the measure say Johnson was clearly open to their plan.

The foreign aid plan being drafted by the bipartisan group would provide US$66 billion in military aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan but does not include humanitarian aid, which was part of the Senate package and a priority for many Democrats.

In addition, the plan would ban illegal immigrants from entering the US until operational control of the border is achieved and send migrants to Mexico or their country of origin while they wait for their claims to be processed in the US.

"The group was looking at other changes to the bill as well, including seizing frozen Russian assets in the US and transferring those to Ukraine – a proposal known as the REPO Act. And he said the members were considering turning some of the aid into a US loan – an idea floated by Trump," McCaul told CNN

But this proposal will be difficult to accept for many Democrats who oppose immigration restrictions as well as the lack of humanitarian aid, CNN writes.

The attempt to approve more aid to Ukraine has been delayed for months amid intra-party infighting in the Republican Party. At first, Republicans demanded that Congress strengthen border security measures before providing aid to Ukraine. Then, when a bipartisan border security deal failed after nearly five months of negotiations in the Senate, Johnson immediately declared it too weak, effectively nullifying the entire effort.

Johnson had previously said that he would not take up the Senate plan because it did not mention anything about the border. But on Thursday, he suggested that he was ready to consider measures being developed in the House of Representatives.

Support UP or become our patron!