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Foreign Aid Supplemental Readied in House Amid Backlash

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By David Lerman and Aidan Quigley
CQ-Roll Call

(CQ-Roll Call) Washington — Speaker Mike Johnson planned to push forward Wednesday with an aid plan for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, along with a separate bill on border security that came after a late night of negotiating with GOP members. online news

Johnson, R-La., told his conference in a text message Wednesday morning that three separate bills for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan would be released “shortly,” with some of the aid to Ukraine structured as a loan.

A fourth bill, coming later Wednesday, would include measures to seize frozen Russian assets, force the divestiture of the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok, and impose sanctions on Russia, China and Iran, among other things.

But in a new twist, Johnson also said he would move an additional bill, handled under a separate rule, to toughen security measures at the southern U.S. border. He said the bill would contain the “core components” of the Republican immigration bill known as HR 2, which passed the House last year over solid Democratic opposition.

Johnson said final votes on the bill would occur Saturday night. But both chambers are scheduled to be in recess next week, and it wasn’t clear whether the Senate would stay in session to take up the bills immediately.

Members of the rebellious Freedom Caucus had protested Johnson’s initial plan, announced Monday, in part because it lacked border security provisions. Johnson had promised for months that he would not allow for additional Ukraine aid without more U.S. border security.

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The speaker’s latest proposal still appears to include stitching together the three measures before sending them to the Senate — if they can pass the House. The border security bill would be separate, likely giving Senate Democrats an excuse to bottle it up rather than take action on that piece.

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“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,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, a Freedom Caucus member, wrote Wednesday on X, formerly Twitter. “The border ‘vote’ in this package is a watered-down dangerous cover vote. I will oppose.”

Johnson said in his text message that his revised plan had been developed “after significant Member feedback and discussion.”

But by handling the border security measure under a separate rule, the bill would not interfere with the war funding package. Democrats, whose help may be needed to adopt a rule on the foreign aid bill, could vote for that rule while opposing a border security bill rule.

The decision marked the latest effort by the embattled speaker, who faces an ouster threat, to walk a tightrope on long-stalled Ukraine and Israel aid. Many in his conference resist additional Ukraine aid, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., threatened to trigger a motion to vacate the speakership if a Ukraine bill reaches the House floor.

The Senate in February easily passed a $95.3 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan with solid bipartisan support. That measure contained no border security provisions.

©2024 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. Visit at rollcall.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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