web analytics

Is Foreign Aid the Beginning of the End for Speaker Mike Johnson?

The future looks bleak for the speaker of the House.

by | Apr 20, 2024 | Articles, Good Reads, Opinion, Politics

The House of Representatives opted Friday, April 19, to advance billions in foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan to a final vote on Saturday. The package received truly bipartisan support – and, for that matter, bipartisan opposition. But now House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is under fire once again from some in his own party for relying on the Democrats to get things done.

Funding Foreign Wars

Speaker Johnson revealed a handful of bills earlier in the week, including three that would send $26.4 billion to Israel, $60.8 billion to Ukraine, and $8.1 billion to “counter China in the Indo-Pacific,” which largely means sending money to Taiwan. The Israel measure also includes just shy of $10 billion to address Palestinian humanitarian needs, a caveat Democrats demanded in return for their support.

What it does not include, however, is an increased in funding or stricter policies for US border security, and that was a sticking point for many of the 55 Republicans who opposed the measure in Friday’s floor vote and all three of the GOP committee members who voted against it late Thursday night.

While the trio of funding bills didn’t address US border security, a separate measure in the package does, though it failed to clear the committee on Friday. Speaker Johnson said the House would still consider it under a suspension of the rules this weekend, but that means it will require two-thirds support to pass – a tall order for an “aggressive” border security bill with such a narrow GOP majority.

Another bill aims to address other Republican foreign policy priorities. For example, it would allow the sale of frozen assets of Russian oligarchs to fund Ukraine, potentially require the sale of TikTok to a company not owned by the Chinese government, and authorize stricter sanctions on China, Russia, and Iran.

Whatever bills from this set pass the House will be combined into a single package before heading for the Senate. President Biden said he would sign the package into law and called on both chambers to act quickly, as Congress is scheduled to be in recess next week.

Which Is Worse, the Math or the Politics?

The spending bills have so far proven to be quite bipartisan, yet those who oppose the funding of foreign wars with US tax dollars – or, in some cases, those who are quite alright with it so long as they get some border security out of the deal – accuse Speaker Johnson of, for lack of a better term, colluding with the Democrats behind their backs. The committee vote was 9-3, with all four of the Democrats voting in support, and more Democrats supported the bill Friday than Republicans, so surely that means Johnson’s in cahoots with the enemy, right?

New banner Liberty Nation Analysis 1That’s certainly the way some Republicans are presenting it. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), one of the three House Rules Committee Republicans who voted against the spending package – not because it funds foreign wars, but because it didn’t come with a border security rider – said as much Thursday. “Unprecedented: Speaker Johnson plans to pass the rule for the $100 billion foreign aid package using Democrats on the Rules Committee,” Massie declared on X. “Is he working for Democrats or Republicans now?” Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) chimed in with: “Never happened before that minority party has carried a rule vote.”

But is that what actually happened? It doesn’t take a math whiz to look at the 9-3 committee vote and the fact that all four Democrats on the committee voted in support of Johnson’s bills to determine that more Rules Committee Republicans voted in favor of it than voted against, or, for that matter, that the bills drew more GOP votes in committee than Democrat. After all, that nine total minus four Democrats equals five Republicans is far from a complex calculation – it’s an equation most first graders could solve!

Then there’s the 316-94 floor vote on Friday. Yes, once again a higher percentage of Democrats supported this than Republicans – and, this time, a higher raw number of Democrats supported it. But, also once again, more Republicans voted in favor of the bills than against – almost three times as many this time, in fact.

The Beginning of the End for Speaker Johnson?

Wherever one stands on the idea of sending US tax dollars to fund foreign wars – and whether it makes good or bad policy – spinning the Republican speaker as a Democrat tool because of the vote results, in this case, is terrible math and politics alike. It just doesn’t add up. One could just as easily level the same accusations at the more hard line Republican holdouts had the Democrats decided to stand united against anything GOP Speaker Johnson proposed.

For Johnson’s position as speaker of the House, however, none of that may matter. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and the two colleagues she has rallied to her cause already, Reps. Thomas Massie and Paul Gosar (R-AZ), are apparently committed to removing him as speaker regardless of how this vote-filled weekend goes. Thanks to the spending packages, though, others are beginning to lean in that direction as well.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who just a day earlier said she didn’t want to put the House through the chaos of another vote to vacate, now predicts that “this could be the beginning of the end for the speaker.”

Read More From James Fite

Latest Posts

Can Trump Win the Libertarian Vote in 2024?

Former President Donald Trump was in Washington, DC, last night, May 25, making his case to the attendees at the...