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Johnson Gets Another Rare Bailout From Democrats On Foreign Aid

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


House Democrats took another extraordinary step on Friday to stop the blocking of House Speaker Mike Johnson’s foreign aid package.

Such bipartisanship on normally party-line procedural votes is becoming more common as Republicans battle a razor-thin majority and a rebellious right flank.

Together with 151 Republicans, 165 Democrats voted to approve a “rule,” a procedural document that establishes the parameters for legislative discussion and voting.

“The bipartisanship was needed after 55 Republicans, mostly hardliners incensed about the $61 billion in Ukraine aid in the package, voted ‘no.’ The vote sets the stage for the bill to be passed early Saturday afternoon,” Axios reported.

“Republican hardliners have increasingly defected from Republican leadership and voted to keep rules from passing this session. Johnson, and former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), have been forced to occasionally seek out Democratic votes. Democrats previously voted last May to help advance a bill raising the debt ceiling after a similar right-wing revolt,” the outlet added.

Representatives Chip Roy of Texas, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, and Tom Massie of Kentucky, the committee’s hardline conservative Republicans, all voted against the rule because it did not combine border security with foreign aid.

But the speaker is going to vote on what he described as an “aggressive” border bill on Friday morning. Despite failing to pass the Rules Committee, it will now be considered by the House under a suspension of the rule, meaning that it will need the support of two-thirds of members to pass.

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“The three foreign aid bills would provide $26.4 billion to support Israel, $60.8 billion to bolster Ukraine, and $8.1 billion to counter China in the Indo-Pacific, including billions for Taiwan. The Israel measure also includes more than $9.1 billion to address Palestinian humanitarian needs, which Democrats said was necessary for their support,” CBS News reported.

“A fourth bill is geared toward addressing other GOP foreign policy priorities. In particular, it would allow the sale of frozen assets of Russian oligarchs to help fund future aid to Ukraine, potentially force the sale of TikTok, and authorize stricter sanctions on Russia, China, and Iran,” the outlet added.

Deep rifts have emerged among House Republicans as a result of foreign aid; some on the far right have threatened to remove Johnson as speaker due to their opposition to further funding for Ukraine.

Johnson justified his choice on Wednesday, saying that giving Ukraine deadly assistance was “critically important.”

“If I operated out of fear over a motion to vacate, I would never be able to do my job,” Johnson told reporters.

“Look, history judges us fo r what we do,” he said, adding, “This is a critical time right now critical time on the world stage. I couled make a you know I can make a selfish decision and do something that that’s different. But I’m doing here what I believe to be the right thing.”

Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert predicted, “this could be the beginning of the end for the speaker.”

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Speaker Johnson made headlines earlier this week when he introduced a major election integrity reform bill following his meeting with former President Donald Trump.

“Every single person who registers to vote in a Federal election must prove they’re an American citizen first” under the bill, Johnson told reporters. “Our bill would put us on par with virtually every other democracy around the world that also prohibits non-citizen voting.”

“It seems like common sense. I’m sure all of us would agree that we only want U.S. citizens to vote in U.S. elections,” Johnson added.

In addition, former GOP presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy offered his own advice to the GOP in terms of shoring up election integrity.

“A simple message to the GOP: play to win. 1. Make Election Day a National Holiday 2. Single-Day Voting 3. Paper Ballots 4. Government-issued voter ID to match the voter file 5. English as the sole language that appears on a ballot,” he wrote on X in a post featuring a clip of an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham.

Meanwhile, “Trump offered a political lifeline Friday to House Speaker Mike Johnson, saying the beleaguered GOP leader is doing a ‘very good job,’ and tamping down the far-right forces led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene trying to oust him from office,” The Associated Press reported.

Trump and Johnson stood together at the ex-president’s Mar-a-Lago club, symbolizing a crucial moment for the new House leader as he aligns himself and his GOP majority with the indicted Republican Party leader in anticipation of the November election.

“I stand with the speaker,” Trump said, adding he believes the Louisiana Republican leader is “doing a very good job – he’s doing about as good as you’re going to do” with a small GOP majority in the House.

“We’re getting along very well with the speaker — and I get along very well with Marjorie,” who has filed an initial motion to vacate the Speaker’s chair, Trump said. The former president also said those efforts to oust the Speaker were” unfortunate,” adding there are “much bigger problems” right now.

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