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Mike Johnson faces 3 options for moving Ukraine aid through the House

When Congress returns next week, lawmakers will try once again to push through more emergency aid for Ukraine.
Mike Johnson faces 3 options for moving Ukraine aid through the House
Posted at 1:53 PM, Apr 03, 2024

When lawmakers return to Capitol Hill next week, House Speaker Mike Johnson has indicated he's willing to bring a Ukraine aid package to the floor. But the embattled Republican leader has to balance differing priorities, while also trying to hang onto his job.

One option to break the logjam: Give Ukraine a loan.

Some members oppose sending aid to Ukraine while the national debt is ballooning and the southern border is overwhelmed. Making the aid a loan could help get them on board, even if it's a 0%-interest, waivable loan.

Another pathway: Use procedural tools to force an aid bill to the floor. A discharge petition allows House members to do just that.

A petition by Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern has 191 signatures, and that would force a vote on the bipartisan deal that's already passed the Senate. That bill includes $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific.

A competing effort from Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick has just 16 signatures. That petition would push forward a bill to provide over $66 billion in defense-only aid for our international allies. But the legislation also adds increased restrictions on people who cross the border illegally.

Any discharge petition needs 218 signatures to force a vote. 

Option No. 3: Use frozen Russian assets.

"If we could use the seized assets of Russian oligarchs to allow the Ukrainians to fight them, that's just pure poetry," Speaker Johnson said on Fox News Sunday.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul proposed a bill to allow the president to confiscate Russia's frozen assets in the U.S., and send those funds to Ukraine. That bill has 80 bipartisan co-sponsors in the House, and there's a companion version that's been introduced in the Senate.

Whatever path Speaker Johnson chooses, he has a potential motion to vacate the speakership hanging over his head. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene introduced the move in March, but hasn't yet taken the steps to force a vote on the House floor.

SEE MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene files motion to oust Speaker Mike Johnson

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