House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said Monday he’s “confident and optimistic” Congress can approve additional aid for Israel and Ukraine in the “coming days,” even though hard-right demands for additional anti-immigration measures at the southern border have held up the legislation.
Johnson said lawmakers have been locked in “thoughtful negotiation” surrounding the GOP demands to tie additional aid to Ukraine to border security measures, including new asylum restrictions, restarting border wall construction and hiring more border patrol agents.
Johnson reiterated his previous support for more aid for both countries, telling reporters Monday “we have a sense of urgency about this.”
Johnson’s statements come after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday told senators in a letter he plans to bring President Joe Biden’s $106 billion supplemental aid package for Ukraine and Israel to the floor for a vote as soon as next week.
Schumer specifically emphasized the need for more Ukraine funding, as previous U.S. aid is running dry, writing “giving Putin and [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping] what they would want would be a terrible, terrible mistake, and one that would come back to haunt us.”
Schumer also blasted Republicans who are tying their support for Ukraine to border security, warning that “purely partisan hard-right demands, like those in H.R. 2 [the GOP House immigration bill], jeopardize the entire national security supplemental package.”
41%. That’s the share of Americans who say the U.S. is doing too much to help Ukraine, according to a November Gallup poll, up from 24% in August 2022 and 29% in June 2023.
While senators on both sides of the aisle have been largely united behind approving aid to both Ukraine and Israel, Republican lawmakers in both chambers have demanded that border security measures be attached to an aid package for Ukraine. In the House, however, it’s unclear whether any Ukraine aid package has the support to pass, as some hard-right lawmakers, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), are against funding Ukraine. The opposition means Democrats and Republicans will have to team together to approve the legislation under the slim 222-213 Republican majority in the House. Biden’s package proposes $61.4 billion in aid for Ukraine, $14.3 billion for Israel and $9.15 billion for humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Gaza. The legislation also includes $13.6 billion for new border security measures and funding for Taiwan. Earlier this month, the House approved legislation that would meet Biden’s funding request for Israel, but would also impose steep cuts to the Internal Revenue Service—a provision that is a non-starter in the Democrat-controlled Senate.