Mike Johnson Holds Firm: Presses On With Ukraine, Israel Aid Amid Calls to Resign

House Speaker navigates choppy waters of legislative leadership.

by Nouman Rasool
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Mike Johnson Holds Firm: Presses On With Ukraine, Israel Aid Amid Calls to Resign
© Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images

House Speaker Mike Johnson is steadfastly advancing a contentious plan to distribute aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan—three hotspots of global geopolitical tensions—despite internal party discord that threatens his leadership.

Johnson has proposed a strategic division of the $95 billion foreign aid package, originally consolidated and passed by the Senate, into separate bills focused on each nation, coupled with a fourth bill incorporating conservative priorities.

In a critical conversation with President Joe Biden on Monday, Johnson laid out his initiative. Following their discussion, the White House, while cautious, expressed an interest in reviewing the details of Johnson's proposal.

This new approach, however, has stirred further unrest within his party. The right flank, already simmering with dissent, saw an additional member pledge support for a motion to oust Johnson from his speaker position. This motion, introduced by Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, gained traction as Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie publicly declared his co-sponsorship during a GOP conference meeting.

Johnson's Defiant Stand

Amid rising tensions, ABC News’ Senior Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott directly questioned Johnson about the possibility of being removed by his peers. Johnson's response was resolute: "I am not resigning," dismissing the notion of a vacate motion as "absurd" at a time when legislative focus is crucial.

He emphasized the damage such internal conflicts bring to both the party's objectives and national interests. The GOP's narrow majority in the House places Johnson in a precarious position, allowing him little room for defection.

Despite this vulnerability, some Democrats have hinted at a willingness to support Johnson, prioritizing legislative stability over political theatrics. House Democratic Caucus chair Pete Aguilar voiced a preference for functionality in Congress, signaling Democratic support for the aid initiatives despite Republican internal conflicts.

Aguilar stressed the importance of focusing on legislative priorities over the "theatrics" of figures like Greene. As Johnson faces mounting pressure, he remains committed to progressing the legislative agenda, asserting the necessity of addressing global crises reflected in the aid proposals.

With discussions ongoing and legislative details yet to be finalized, Johnson reassured that the focus remains on refining the proposals to reflect bipartisan concerns. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also weighed in, reserving judgment on the segmented approach to foreign aid until more details are disclosed.

Schumer emphasized the urgency of bipartisan cooperation, especially in light of recent international events such as the direct attack on Israel by Iran and the escalating conflict in Ukraine, which underscore the global implications of congressional actions.

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