House Speaker Mike Johnson Slams Senate Over Border Security, Calls Out $95B Military Measure for Ukraine Offensive

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 02/13/2024
Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson (R-LA) chastised the Senate on Monday for its disregard for border security as it readied a $95 billion military measure that would finance the offensive in Ukraine.

Since taking the helm as speaker in October, Johnson has expressed support for Ukraine, but he has also made it apparent that the support would not survive in the Republican-controlled House without significant adjustments to southern border policy. In an attempt to placate Johnson, the Senate worked with the White House to craft a compromise, but last week, Republicans rejected the bill as being too conservative.

The speaker all but destroyed any chance that the House would take up the measure on Monday, just hours before it passed the upper house. The Senate leadership has already moved swiftly to approve the aid with no restrictions related to the border.

The goal of the national security supplemental law was to fortify American borders before distributing further help abroad. "This is what the people of America deserve and demand," Johnson said in a statement. "Now that the Senate has not changed a single border policy, the House will have to continue working on these crucial issues on its own initiative." Johnson's posturing does not rule out further assistance for Ukraine finding its way to President Joe Biden's desk. However, it does greatly increase the uncertainty of the future.

As the conflict in Ukraine approaches its third year, Johnson has already insisted that the president provide an exit plan. It is also possible that the military bill will need to be modified in order to pass the House.

Republicans will undoubtedly examine other financial accounts, such aid for Gaza, but the Senate eliminated billions of dollars in direct support for the Ukrainian government. It is also uncertain whether the speaker would keep pressing for the measure to be divided into several sections, since it also helps Taiwan and Israel.

Regarding the border issue itself, the White House has shown some flexibility by consenting to new limitations on parole and asylum in the Senate agreement, which conservatives denounced as a "fig leaf" for the border problem. If Biden is prepared to engage in further negotiations, there will be little chance for the help. H.R. 2, the House's flagship border plan, was Johnson's offer of compromise, which the president has already rejected. However, the speaker has shown some leeway to his colleagues in legislative leadership.


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