Johnson Plans to Bring Separate Ukraine, Israel, Foreign Aid Bills to Floor

Daniel Monaghan
By Daniel Monaghan
April 15, 2024Congress

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on April 15 unveiled a four-pronged plan to furnish financial aid to Israel and Ukraine and to address other geopolitical issues.

The four part plan will include three separate financial assistance packages: one for Ukraine, one for Israel, and one for Taiwan. An additional bill would reportedly wrap in a TikTok ban and the REPO (Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity) for Ukrainians Act, which would allow the United States to seize some assets of Russian oligarchs to help finance the costs of fighting the war there.

However, no additional details are available on either the top line costs that Mr. Johnson will pursue, nor the details of the proposed TikTok legislation.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), an outspoken opponent of additional funding for Ukraine, spoke to reporters after the closed-door Republican conference meeting during which the plan was revealed.

“I am firmly against the plan as it stands right now,” Ms. Greene told reporters.

“This is such a scam and people are so done with it,” she added.

Ms. Greene did not say whether she will pursue an activation of her standing motion to vacate against Mr. Johnson in response to the announcement.

Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), meanwhile, had a different take on the plan.

“I support him 100 percent,” Mr. Hern told reporters as he left the conference meeting. “This is about the Indo-Pacific, it’s about Taiwan … Ukraine, and Israel and some other national security issues.”

However, he said he’s going to wait until he sees the actual text of the proposals before he commits his support.

Likewise, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.)—another opponent of funding for Ukraine—applauded Mr. Johnson for splitting the bills into separate packages rather than attempting to merge them into a single package.

“I like that it’s separate bills,” he said.

Mr. Biggs also reported that he doesn’t expect to see border security attached to the funding packages, an issue which has been a key concern for many Republican lawmakers.

Mr. Johnson’s proposal comes in the wake of an unprecedented direct attack on Israel by the Iranian regime. Iran has claimed that the attack was retaliatory for a suspected Israeli strike on a building hosting Iranian military generals in Syria.

The attack prompted a new sense of urgency among many lawmakers to pursue another attempt at foreign aid, particularly for Israel.

Congress has struggled for months to find a path forward on foreign aid, as many Republicans in both chambers support Israel funding but oppose additional assistance for Ukraine.

Three earlier packages to fund Israel, including one originating in the Senate and two originating in the House, have failed to advance to the president’s desk due to partisan and intra-party disputes.

President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has threatened to veto a standalone Israel bill, as he wants the House to send him a more comprehensive foreign aid and national security package.

It’s unclear how he or Senate Democrats will react to Mr. Johnson’s latest gambit at foreign aid.

Details on the TikTok aspect of the plan are also sparse.

An earlier bill passed by the House would force ByteDance, the Chinese Communist Party-linked owner of TikTok, to divest the company or face a ban in the United States.

That bill, however, has not been taken up by the Senate.

Mr. Johnson’s move to attach the REPO Act to the legislation, which will allow for the seizure of the property of Russian oligarchs, is likely a ploy to cajole the Senate into backing a TikTok ban.

From The Epoch Times

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