Potentially breaking a months-long deadlock, House Republicans have a plan to move military assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan in the wake of this weekend’s massive attempted strike on Israel by Iran.

The plan, while sounding simple, may be difficult to pull off: have separate votes on aid for each of the countries, as well as another catch-all bill with other provisions, such as forcing social media app TikTok in the U.S. to be divested from its Chinese owner and requiring Ukraine to repay some of its aid.

“There are precipitating events around the globe that we’re all watching very carefully, and we know that the world is watching us, to see how we react,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) told reporters after a meeting of House Republicans in the U.S. Capitol basement early Monday night.

“We will vote on each of these measures separately in four different pieces,” he said.

But with interparty politics between Republicans and Democrats in the House and intraparty politics within the GOP conference itself between Johnson and his detractors, the plan may not be as straightforward as it sounds.

First, it would mean the House is not going to vote on the $95.5 billion bill the Senate passed with 70 votes once negotiations over a bipartisan border bill collapsed in February. That bill, which wraps together aid for all three countries, has been the one Democrats have said for some time is the only one the House should consider.

“The only path forward is an up-or-down vote on the bipartisan, comprehensive national security bill,” Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told reporters last week. The White House has also pushed for a vote on the Senate bill as the quickest way to get aid passed.

If Johnson wants to bring the bills to the floor so they can be passed with a simple majority — in contrast with bills he’s recently brought that needed a two-thirds supermajority for passage — he would need for the House to pass a rule for debate. But those have been difficult to get passed lately with strictly Republican votes as Johnson works with only two votes to spare on his side.

It remains to be seen if GOP leaders could get a rule passed using only Republican votes, especially because so many House Republicans have said they will oppose any effort to aid Ukraine by refilling U.S. stocks of weapons that have been sent to the country, which allows old weapons in storage to be donated to Ukraine as it fights Russia’s invasion.

It’s unlikely Republicans would seek help from Democrats to pass a rule, but if they did, Democrats would likely seek concessions that could make the bills less palatable to the GOP.

On top of those concerns, the most vocal Ukraine aid critic, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), has threatened to try to oust Johnson if he tries to pass an aid bill.

“Our voters are ADAMANTLY AGAINST funding a single penny to Ukraine!!!” she posted on social media Monday. “And basically any foreign war. They are just done. Focus on Americans for a change!!! It’s tax day for heaven’s sakes!!”

Johnson said allowing the individual issues to be voted on, with amendments offered on the floor, was the fairest way to break a deadlock that, with Ukraine, has existed since Sept. 30, when Republicans jettisoned a much smaller aid package as part of a stopgap spending measure and basically dared Democrats to put it back in and thus cause a government shutdown. Democrats acquiesced.

“I will talk with Hakeem Jeffries, my Democratic counterpart in the House, and I suspect they will respect this process as well. But if we put it on a rule and we let all members vote their conscience, it’s equally fair to everybody in the House,” Johnson said.

Even if all the measures pass, it was also unclear in what form they would go to the Senate. GOP leaders could set up the process so the four issues are voted on separately and then bundled in a single bill to be sent to the Senate, upping pressure on that chamber to accept the votes on all four measures.

But Johnson said a decision on that had not been made yet, though he favored sending the four bills to the Senate individually.

As for the possibility of an ouster attempt, like the one that took out his predecessor as speaker, former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Johnson said he was unconcerned.

“We’re having to govern here, and we’re going to do our job,” he said.

source

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