Jeffries wants Johnson to bring up the aid for the vote

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House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) is floating an ambitious deadline for the chamber to pass Ukraine aid, urging GOP leaders to send a Senate-passed foreign aid package to President Biden’s desk by the end of next week.
“The clock is ticking, and we have to get the bipartisan national security bill over the finish line before we leave town next Friday, March 22 — before we leave town,” Jeffries said Wednesday during a press briefing in the Capitol.
“It’s reckless to do otherwise.”Jeffries, as leader of the minority party, has virtually no power to control what legislation comes to the floor.
And Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.
), while voicing his support for more Ukraine aid, is opposed to the $95 billion foreign aid package that passed last month through the Senate, where 70 senators — including 22 Republicans — supported the legislation.
Still, the longer the impasse grows, the more pressure is building on Johnson to move some form of Ukraine aid before November’s elections.
Several prominent GOP committee heads have stressed the importance of providing more military help to Kyiv amid recent Russian advances.
A handful of Republicans, led by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), have launched a discharge petition designed as a “pressure point” to compel GOP leaders to bring Ukraine aid to the floor.
And on Tuesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda met with congressional leaders, including Johnson, to deliver warnings that a Russian victory in Ukraine would put Poland in the crosshairs next.
Jeffries on Wednesday was quick to highlight Duda’s message, warning that a Russian invasion of a NATO ally would likely accelerate U.S. involvement, putting American troops in harm’s way.
“We cannot allow Ukraine to be overrun by Russia, because what will happen is that American lives are likely to be on the line — unless we were to believe that if Putin wins in Ukraine, he stops there, when he didn’t stop in Georgia, and he didn’t stop in Crimea,” Jeffries said.
“Breaking news: He’s not stopping in Ukraine, if he’s allowed to be successful.
And in that neighborhood, it’s filled with NATO allies, including Poland, which is one of the reasons why President Duda was so strongly supportive of making sure we continue to support the Ukrainian effort.”Johnson, after meeting with Duda, praised Poland as “one of America’s key NATO allies” and “a strategic partner in promoting a free and prosperous future and in advocating for greater defense spending by our European partners.”“In an increasingly dangerous world with growing threats, America must remain united with our friends against those who threaten our security,” Johnson said in a statement.
The Speaker is demanding that any new foreign assistance be accompanied by House-passed measures to limit migration on the southern border — provisions that are a non-starter with Democrats in Congress and the White House.
The impasse has raised real questions about how, or if, Johnson intends to move more Ukraine aid through the House, where a number of conservatives oppose more Ukraine aid and want Washington to focus its attention instead on domestic problems — a more isolationist position also championed by former President Trump as he races for another term in the White House.
In an attempt to break the deadlock, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.)
this week launched a second discharge petition designed to force a vote on the Senate Ukraine bill over the objections of Johnson and his leadership team.
Jeffries noted that McGovern’s petition has already attracted almost 180 signatures, versus just 14 for Fitzpatrick’s petition.
“That’s not dueling discharge petitions,” he said.
“It’s a reaffirmation that the only clear path is to put the bipartisan, comprehensive Senate-passed bill on the House floor for an up-or-down vote.
And it will pass overwhelmingly with Democrats and Republicans.
“That is the only path forward.”Jeffries’s target date of March 22 aligns directly with the deadline for the remaining six bills to fund the government through the remainder of fiscal year 2024.
As both debates evolve, some lawmakers have floated the idea of attaching some form of Ukraine aid to the “omnibus” spending package.
Johnson, however, has said preventing a shutdown should be Congress’s first priority.
“The House is actively considering options on a path forward [on Ukraine],” Johnson said late last month, “but our first responsibility is to fund the government.”

Hakeem Jeffries, the minority leader in the house (D-N. Y. ) is proposing an ambitious deadline for the chamber to approve aid for Ukraine, pressing Republican leaders to ensure that a foreign aid package approved by the Senate reaches President Biden’s desk by the end of the following week.

During a press conference in the Capitol on Wednesday, Jeffries stated, “The clock is ticking, and we have to get the bipartisan national security bill over the finish line before we leave town next Friday, March 22 — before we leave town.”. Anything less would be careless. “.

Despite leading the minority party, Jeffries essentially has no influence over what bills are brought to the floor. In addition, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La. ), who has expressed his support for additional aid to Ukraine, is against the $95 billion foreign aid package that was approved by the Senate last month. Twenty-two senators, including Republicans, voted in favor of the legislation.

Even so, Johnson is under increasing pressure to move on arranging some kind of aid for Ukraine before November’s elections as the impasse continues to worsen.

A number of well-known GOP committee heads have emphasized the significance of giving Kyiv additional military support in light of recent Russian advances. A few Republicans, in the lead from Rep. Republican from Pennsylvania, Brian Fitzpatrick. ), have started a discharge petition intended to act as a “pressure point” to force GOP leaders to discuss Ukraine assistance on the floor.

Additionally, Polish President Andrzej Duda warned that Poland would be next in line for Russian aggression in Ukraine during a meeting with congressional leaders on Tuesday, Johnson among them.

Jeffries quickly emphasized Duda’s message on Wednesday, stating that a Russian invasion of a NATO ally would probably speed up U. s. participation, placing US troops in danger.

Unless we were to think that if Putin wins in Ukraine, he stops there, when in fact, he didn’t stop in Georgia or Crimea, Jeffries stated, “We cannot allow Ukraine to be overrun by Russia, because what will happen is that American lives are likely to be on the line.”.

“Unforgettable: If given the chance to succeed, he will not pull out of Ukraine. President Duda was very supportive of ensuring that we keep supporting the Ukrainian effort because the neighborhood is populated with NATO allies, including Poland. “.

Poland is “one of America’s key NATO allies” and “a strategic partner in promoting a free and prosperous future and in advocating for greater defense spending by our European partners,” according to Johnson, who praised the country after meeting with Duda. “.

Johnson said in a statement, “America must remain united with our friends against those who threaten our security in an increasingly dangerous world with growing threats.”.

The Speaker is insisting that any additional foreign aid come with House-passed restrictions on immigration at the southern border, which are unpopular with Democrats in both the House and Congress.

The deadlock has made it unclear how or whether Johnson plans to push additional aid for Ukraine through the House, as some conservatives are against it and prefer that Washington concentrate its efforts on solving domestic issues. Former President Trump is also supporting this more isolationist stance as he seeks reelection to the White House.

Seeking to break the impasse, Rep. Jim McGovern (Democrat, Massachusetts). ) this week introduced a second discharge petition in an attempt to override Johnson and his leadership team’s objections and force a vote on the Senate Ukraine bill.

In contrast to Fitzpatrick’s petition, which has only 14 signatures, McGovern’s has nearly 180. Jeffries pointed out this difference.

He said, “That’s not a dueling discharge petition.”. It’s a confirmation that bringing the comprehensive, bipartisan bill approved by the Senate to the House floor for a vote on approval or rejection is the only viable course of action. Democrats and Republicans will vote it through with overwhelming support.

That is the only way to move forward. “.

Jeffries’ target date of March 22 corresponds exactly with the deadline for completing the six remaining bills that will finance the government for the balance of the 2024 fiscal year. A few legislators have brought up the possibility of adding some kind of Ukraine aid to the “omnibus” budget bill as both discussions develop. Nonetheless, Johnson has stated that Congress’s top priority should be averting a shutdown.

Johnson stated toward the end of last month that “the House is actively considering options on a path forward [on Ukraine], but our first responsibility is to fund the government.”. “.

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