HomePoliticsJohnson indicates that despite the increased pressure, he will not table the...

Johnson indicates that despite the increased pressure, he will not table the Senate supplement

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., gave no indication Sunday that he would set aside the Senate-passed foreign aid package this week, despite mounting pressure from Democrats and some Republican lawmakers to do so to do after Iran’s retaliatory attack. against Israel.

During an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Johnson noted that House members were gathering details for a new package.

“We’re going to try again this week, and the details of that package are being put together now,” he said. “We’re looking at the options and all these additional things.”

The House of Representatives initially approved his Republican Party-led aid package for Israel days after Johnson was elected speaker in October. The package, which tied $14.3 billion in aid to Israel with cuts to IRS funding, was considered dead upon arrival in the Democratic-led Senate. President Joe Biden promised to veto it.

Then in February, the House of Representatives failed to pass a standalone Israeli aid bill without the IRS cuts, with many Republicans voting with Democrats to thwart the effort.

That same month, the Senate approved a $95 billion national security package that included aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, but Johnson rejected the deal after a bipartisan effort in the Senate to overhaul security at the U.S.-Mexico border pack, had broken off. And under pressure from Republican hardliners who warned him that linking Ukrainian aid to the bill could harm his speakership, Johnson has yet to offer aid to the war-city country months later.

On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters that the “best” way to help Israel was to “pass the supplemental bill this week.”

“I called on Speaker Johnson to do that,” he added at a news conference in New York City after a phone call between Biden and the four congressional leaders, including Johnson. “There was a consensus on the phone among all the leaders that we needed to help Israel and Ukraine, and now hopefully we can work that out and get it done next week.”

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Asked Sunday whether he is considering former President Donald Trump’s idea to convert aid to Ukraine into a loan, Johnson praised his meeting with Trump at Mar-a-Lago on Friday and said they are “100% united about these major agenda items.”

“If you talk about aid to Ukraine, he introduced the concept of loan leasing, which I think is very important and on which there is a lot of consensus,” he said, adding that seizing the assets of a “corrupt Russian oligarchy” to help The Ukrainian resistance is also among the ideas that he believes can lead to consensus.

“And that’s what we’ve been working on,” he said. “We send our package, we put something together and send it to the Senate so that we can meet these obligations.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged Congress on Saturday to pass the additional military aid package that has been held up for months. McConnell said the US should support Israel after Iran launched retaliatory strikes against the country in response to the Israeli bombing of its consular building in Syria, which killed two of Tehran’s top military leaders.

“We cannot hope to deter conflict without showing resolve and seriously investing in American strength. The Commander in Chief and Congress must fulfill our fundamental duties without delay,” he said of the package linking aid to Ukraine and Israel. “The consequences of failure are obvious, devastating and avoidable.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner, R-Ohio, said Sunday he expects the House to approve the long-stalled additional military aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan this week with “overwhelming support.”

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“Ukraine is starting to lose the ability to defend itself and the United States must step up and provide Ukraine with the weapons they need,” he said during an interview with NBC News’ ‘Meet the Press.’

“I think we’ll see overwhelming support for that in the House of Representatives this week,” he added.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he hopes the U.S. can provide aid to Ukraine while funding border security.

“I am certainly willing to help Ukraine, but I want us to tackle the southern border. And that was the negotiation, that was the conversation, that was the agreement. That was what was going to happen and it didn’t happen,” he said during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union. “What they came up with was unacceptable when it came to the border, but I remain in favor of helping Ukraine. But I am a big supporter and even bigger supporter of helping America as a US Senator. And so I hope that these two things can happen.

Johnson, who has promised the approval of new aid to Ukraine, has come under scrutiny from members of a slim Republican majority. Republican Party hardliners such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., have criticized Johnson, arguing that the funding would be better allocated elsewhere.

Greene, who filed a “motion to evict” to impeach Johnson but did not act on a vote to impeach him, has argued that Congress should shift its focus and allocate funding to the southern border instead to Ukraine.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, claimed Sunday that Trump has “tremendous influence” over the GOP conference and believes Johnson went to Mar-a-Lago to meet with the suspected Republican presidential candidate about the Ukraine aid package and to get him to agree that a direct government loan program would be “acceptable.”

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“Remember, the first lethal aid package that ever went to Ukraine that I signed for, $300 million, came from the Trump administration,” McCaul said during an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “They don’t want to see us lose in Ukraine like we did in Afghanistan. The long-term consequences are: a weaker America, not stronger. I don’t think Trump wants to own that. I think he wants to help us get to the point where he can come in and finish the job.

Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, who wrote an op-ed in The New York Times outlining his opposition to Biden’s plea for Republicans in Congress to pass the additional aid package, argued that its passage in its current form would weaken Israel’s defenses in their current form. war against Hamas.

“I think we need to focus — I think Israel is a much closer ally, a much more important interest to American national security,” he said during an interview on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “And of course we had to focus on ourselves. That means we must encourage the Ukrainians to adopt a defensive strategy.”

“This is very important because you’re going to hear a lot of calls across Washington DC that we need to pass the supplemental bill now,” he added. “But if we approve the additions to Ukraine and Israel and send a bunch of weapons to Ukraine that the Israelis need, we are actually weakening Israel in the name of helping them.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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