Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) encouraged House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to move forward with a vote on Ukraine aid and other foreign policy spending on Tuesday, after the Senate passed the measure in a predawn vote.
“We’ve heard all kinds of rumors about whether the House supports Ukraine or doesn’t. It seems to me that the easy way to solve that would be to vote,” McConnell told reporters at the Capitol. “And I hope the Speaker will find a way to allow the House to work its will on the issue of Ukraine aid and the other parts of the bill, as well.”
The $95 billion funding measure includes $60 billion for Ukraine aid, and billions more for Israel, Taiwan and other foreign policy priorities.
Johnson has been reluctant to hold a vote on the supplemental spending after the House GOP tanked a bipartisan Senate border security measure last week. He brushed off the pressure when reporters asked him about the supplemental spending vote Tuesday.
“National security begins with border security,” Johnson said.
The comments double down on efforts to get the Senate and President Biden to pass border security measures more strict than last week’s bill before foreign spending is considered.
McConnell’s comments Tuesday also did not address the possibility of a discharge petition for the foreign spending measure in the House. A discharge petition, led by House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), would force a floor vote on the bill without Johnson’s support.
McConnell did not comment on a discharge petition, saying the decision should be left to Jeffries. Jeffries said Tuesday that he “will use every available legislative tool” to urge a floor vote on the foreign aid bill.
But a discharge petition would require a majority of House members, meaning multiple GOP members going against their conference, to bring it to the floor. A number of progressive Democrats are also likely to remove their name from the pre-written “ripe” discharge petition over opposition to Israel aid.
Aid for Israel amidst its war against Hamas has been stuck in a legislative standoff, with both parties tying aid to other priorities — Republicans connecting it to border security requirements and Democrats to Ukraine spending.
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