Mike Johnson garners bipartisan acclaim for Ukraine aid, ensuring his position as speaker remains secure

Speaker Mike Johnson received accolades from both a leading Republican and a progressive Democrat on Sunday for his decision to allow votes on a substantial $95 billion foreign aid package. This commendation indicates that he may be able to retain his position as the leader of the House, even in the face of a potential vote by conservative hard-liners to remove him.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, expressed his admiration for Speaker Mike Johnson by highlighting the transformation he went through. Speaking on ABC News’ “This Week,” McCaul commended Johnson’s decision to prioritize the nation over personal interests, describing it as a profile in courage. According to McCaul, Johnson’s unwavering commitment to being on the right side of history, regardless of the potential impact on his career, is what he found particularly admirable.

Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California, concurred with the statement.

During a separate interview with “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl, Khanna expressed his disagreement with Speaker Johnson on various issues and emphasized that he has been highly critical of him. However, Khanna acknowledged that Johnson made the right decision in this particular instance and believes that he should remain in his position until the end of his term.

Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of Johnson’s most outspoken critics within their party, has put forward a proposal to vacate the speakership, although no action has been taken yet. Her main point of contention is his support for the foreign aid bills, specifically the allocation of $60.8 billion to assist Ukraine in its battle against Russia’s invasion.

Over the weekend, there were more Republicans, including Elise Stefanik, the House Republican Conference Chair, who voted against the Ukraine aid bill, compared to those who voted in favor of it.

Greene will only require the support of one more Republican to remove Johnson from office, just like what happened to Kevin McCarthy last year. However, Khanna believes that enough Democrats will side with Johnson, even without any further concessions.

Karl pressed the Democrats, asking if they would request anything in return from their fellow Democrats who would protect him at this moment.

Khanna stated that he would leave the negotiations to Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. However, he expressed his belief that not everything in politics needs to be transactional. Khanna commended Speaker Johnson for his courageous decision to put the bills up for a vote and separate them. This allowed individuals to vote based on their own conscience on issues such as Taiwan, offensive aid to Israel, and Ukraine. Khanna acknowledged Speaker Johnson’s credit for this action.

The House made a significant shift in its stance on foreign aid bills for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and other Indo-Pacific allies with the votes on Saturday. This sudden change of heart surprised Republican leaders like Johnson, who had previously insisted that providing additional funds to Ukraine should be contingent on stricter U.S. border and immigration laws.

However, attempts to find a middle ground on that issue were unsuccessful in garnering enough support from conservatives. Even a well-publicized Senate agreement to revamp border policy was swiftly dismissed by Johnson and his colleagues as inadequate, following opposition from former President Donald Trump.

In a surprising turn of events, Johnson recently declared his backing for separate votes on further assistance. This includes aid to Ukraine, which is facing its own set of challenges, and to Israel, which is involved in a conflict with Hamas.

“To be frank, last week Johnson expressed his preference for sending bullets to Ukraine rather than putting American boys in harm’s way,” he stated, while mentioning his own son’s enrollment in the Naval Academy.

During an interview on “This Week,” McCaul was questioned by Karl about Johnson’s evolving stance on the issue and the extensive delay that occurred during the legislative process. Despite the prolonged decision-making process, Congress eventually supported a comparable amount of aid to what the White House initially proposed the previous year.

According to McCaul, Johnson initially aligned with the stance of staunch Republicans but soon realized that a different approach had to be taken given the divided state of the government.

According to McCaul, the former president attempted to fulfill the demands of the Freedom Caucus, although it was evident that his approach would not be successful in the Senate or the White House. McCaul emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that time was running out and Ukraine was on the verge of collapsing.

McCaul said that his thinking had been influenced by Johnson’s classified briefings and hearing from Republican leaders on the issue, such as House Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner.

In essence, he indicated that Johnson, who was relatively unknown in the legislature, had to quickly adapt to the role of Speaker after being unexpectedly thrust into the position during a turbulent power struggle within the GOP’s House conference.

According to McCaul, the journey of this man took him from a district in Louisiana to the esteemed position of Speaker of the United States. However, his responsibilities went beyond just the nation as he had to consider the entire world and bear the weight of that responsibility. It was crucial for him to make the right decisions in such a position of influence.

According to McCaul, Mike Johnson’s stock has significantly risen due to his integrity and adherence to doing what is right, regardless of his position. This has garnered him a great deal of respect, not only from his own party but also from Democrats.

Johnson has had to rely on the support of the Democratic minority to advance crucial legislation, including government funding, in addition to the foreign aid bills approved on Saturday.

Republicans currently find themselves in a challenging position due to their slim majority and inability to agree on key legislation.

In response to a question on “This Week” about whether the current dynamics in the House indicate the formation of a “coalition government,” McCaul jokingly replied, “I don’t know, maybe some people are into that.”

Lawmakers like Greene were criticized for issuing ultimatums against Johnson.

According to McCaul, the abuse of the motion in Congress is a recurring issue that needs to be addressed. He believes that this tool is being misused by a minority group, despite the disagreement of the majority within his conference.

According to him, Republican colleagues such as Greene, who argue against providing more aid to Ukraine due to pressing domestic issues, have mistakenly adopted the belief that it is an either/or scenario. He emphasizes that it is possible to support Ukraine while also addressing border concerns, as the United States is a powerful nation capable of handling both challenges. However, he acknowledges that the current situation has become a political matter.

He emphasized that the world, our adversaries, and history are all closely observing the situation. He consistently reminded his colleagues about this.

During a separate interview, Rep. Khanna further elaborated on his stance regarding the additional aid for Israel in its fight against Hamas in Gaza after the terror attack initiated by Hamas on October 7th.

Congressman Khanna was among the 37 Democrats who opposed the individual aid bill for Israel. However, he made a clear distinction between his opposition to offensive funds and his support for defensive funds, which would enable Israel to defend itself.

“It was a difficult decision. I mean, let’s face it, we were standing up against giving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a free pass to acquire offensive weapons without any conditions, all while he talks about launching an attack on Rafah… knowing well that more innocent women and children will lose their lives,” Khanna expressed, reflecting the growing criticism that Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza have resulted in an alarming number of civilian casualties. (Israel maintains that it takes measures to protect civilians.)

Khanna emphasized the urgent need for a change in strategy to address the famine and suffering in Gaza. According to him, it is perplexing that the unconditional support is being given to Netanyahu despite the global consensus on the need for a new approach, the release of hostages held by Hamas, and the pursuit of peace.

During a discussion with Karl, Khanna was questioned about his vote against funding for Israel following Iran’s recent direct strikes on the country. This event has been considered a significant development in the ongoing shadow war between the two nations. In response, Khanna clarified that he would have supported funding specifically for defense purposes.

He said the aim should be to stop the fighting by building coalitions in the region.

“The key to achieving peace in the Middle East lies in establishing a robust security cooperation effort and a strong diplomatic architecture involving Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel,” he emphasized.

Khanna expressed doubt about the legislative attempt to compel TikTok’s Chinese parent company to sell or face a ban in the U.S. due to concerns regarding data security and foreign influence. TikTok, on the other hand, dismisses these concerns as unfounded.

“I believe that the proposed legislation may not withstand First Amendment scrutiny due to the presence of less restrictive alternatives. In my opinion, it is unlikely to survive the scrutiny of the Supreme Court,” Khanna confidently predicted.

Reference Article

Avatar photo
MBS Staff
Articles: 7044

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *