Johnson Pushes Back Against Senate Aid Package

By Jerry McConway, updated on February 13, 2024

The Senate passed legislation on Tuesday morning with a vote of 70-29.

The new legislation would provide $95 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific if it passes in the House, which does not seem likely after Speaker Johnson (R-LA) commented on the legislation.

Talking Points…
- Senate legislation passes
- Speaker Johnson's comments
- Analysis

Senate Passes Aid Legislation

A total of 22 Republicans crossed over to support the aid package, with two Democrats (Senators Peter Welch and Jeff Merkley) and Senator Sanders (I-VT) voting "no" on the package.

Ukraine is getting the lion's share of the money, tagged for $60 billion in aid, with Israel receiving $14 billion, with an additional $9 billion in humanitarian aid for Gaza. There is also $5 billion that would go to the Indo-Pacific. This spending comes amid a national debt exceeding $34 trillion. Biden expressed his support for the bill, stating:

"I applaud the bipartisan coalition of Senators who came together to advance this agreement, and I urge the House to move on this with urgency. We cannot afford to wait any longer. The costs of inaction are rising every day, especially in Ukraine. Already, we are seeing reports of Ukrainian troops running out of ammunition on the front lines as Russian forces continue to attack and Putin continues to dream of subjugating the Ukrainian people.

"There are those who say American leadership and our alliances and partnerships with countries around the world do not matter. They do. If we do not stand against tyrants who seek to conquer or carve up their neighbors' territory, the consequences for America's national security will be significant."

After passing the bill, Senator Schumer (D-N.Y.) called it "one of the most historic and consequential bills" to pass in the Senate. He added:

"The responsibility now falls on Speaker [Mike] Johnson, and House Republicans to approve this bill swiftly. And I call on speaker Johnson to rise to the occasion to do the right thing."

Speaker Johnson Responds to Senate Aid Package

Speaker Johnson (R-LA) had warned the Senate before the bill passed that it was likely to die in the House because the "bill is silent on the most pressing issue facing our country," that being the border crisis that continues to set records on a regular basis.

After the bill passed the Senate, Johnson firmed up his stance, signaling that the bill would not even come to the House floor for a vote. Johnson stated:

"[In] the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters.

"America deserves better than the Senate's status quo."

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) also pushed back against the legislation, claiming it would "even tie the hands of the next president."

Analysis

Right now, we have each party controlling a chamber in Congress, and we are seeing what amounts to political posturing by both sides. Biden and the Senate want to open up the purse, and Republicans are pushing back in the House, refusing to cave into excess spending. There is common ground to be found here, but Biden has more or less made this an all-or-nothing situation, and Schumer seems more than happy to abide by that rule.

From the outset, Republicans have only asked that we address the situation at the border with meaningful legislation, not the nonsense that Biden was pushing earlier that would have codified the actions this administration has taken to this point. The GOP wants real control measures in place, which would include deporting the overwhelming majority of migrants who enter the country illegally.

Biden wants to expand immigration considerably and now is not the time with the estimated eight million migrants he has allowed to enter the country over the last three years, as well as a national debt that is in excess of $34 trillion. These programs are driving this country deeper into debt, and Biden refuses to put the brakes on the spending. This is the only leverage the GOP has at the moment to address the border, so it is hard to blame them for using it on an aid package for other countries that Biden desperately wants to pass.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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