Johnson says Ukraine aid will come up ‘right after’ recess and will include some ‘innovations’

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said Sunday that he expects to move a package including aid for Ukraine with “some important innovations” when the House returns from recess.

In an interview on “Sunday Night in America With Trey Gowdy,” Johnson stressed the difficult position he’s in, with a historically narrow House majority, but said he was working throughout the current work period to come up with a package and plans to put it on the floor when the House gavels back into session.

“Look, what we have to do in an era of divided government — historically, as we are — you got to build consensus. If we want to move a partisan measure, I got to have every single member, literally,” Johnson said. “And some things need to be bipartisan.”

“But when it comes to the supplemental, we’ve been working to build that consensus. We’ve been talking to all the members, especially now over the district work period. When we return after this work period, we’ll be moving a product, but it’s going to, I think, have some important innovations,” Johnson said.

Johnson floated as examples the possibilities of extending a loan to Ukraine — an idea that gained some traction earlier this month as a way to back Ukraine while assuaging conservative concerns about providing more aid as the country fights against Russian aggression.

Johnson also mentioned the REPO for Ukrainians Act, which would authorize the president to seize Russian sovereign assets frozen in the U.S. and give them to Ukraine to use against Russia.

“The REPO Act, you know — if we can use the seized assets of Russian oligarchs to allow the Ukrainians to fight them, that’s just pure poetry,” Johnson said. “Even President Trump has talked about the loan concept, where … we’re not just giving foreign aid, we’re setting it up in a relationship where they can provide it back to us when the time is right.”

Johnson added that, in an effort to “unleash American energy,” he wants “to have natural gas exports that will help unfund Vladimir Putin’s war effort there, you know,” he said, adding, “There’s a lot of things that we should do that … make more sense and that I think we’ll have consensus around.”

“We’re putting that product together and we’ll be moving it right after the district work period,” Johnson said.

The interview comes as Johnson has signaled that he intends to push through legislation that would provide funding for Ukraine, but he has yet to spell out exactly what that would look like.

House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said earlier Sunday that he was confident that support for Ukraine would have “overwhelming support” when Congress returns, underscoring Johnson’s pledge to make Ukraine funding a priority upon their return.

“The Speaker has made very clear statements that when we get back, it’s the next top agenda, after having just passed all the bills that fund the federal government,” Turner said. “I believe this is going to have overwhelming support in Congress, and we’ll put a bill on the president’s desk.”

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