House Democrats Eye 'Back Door' To Force Vote On Ukraine, Israel Funding

After the Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid package Tuesday morning, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) refused to hold a vote on it before Congress secures the southern US border first.

"We really do owe it to the American people to get control of that border," said Johnson.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (center). Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

In response, House Democrats are laying the groundwork to force a vote on it anyway using a rare procedural move known as a discharge petition, which would require at least 218 signatures - and the support of some Republicans, to bring the legislation up for a vote.

The package allocates $60 billion to Ukraine support, $14 billion in military assistance to Israel, $9 billion in humanitarian aid to Gaza and elsewhere, and around $5 billion to defend Taiwan.

In a letter to his colleagues, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said that the caucus would use "use every available legislative tool" to advance the bill, and called on "traditional Republicans" to support it.

Hakeem Jeffries, Nov. 30, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

"It’s not too much to ask in America’s national security that we get an up or down vote and let the House of Representatives actually work it’s will," said Jeffries, without explaining how it's a matter of America's national security to defend Ukraine's borders.

Johnson told reporters Tuesday that he would "certainly oppose" a discharge petition.

If it's brought up, it will pass...

"If it were to get to the floor, it would pass — let's just be frank about that," said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who said he would personally be a "hard no" on the bill.

And Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-INO), a staunch Ukraine supporter (but not so much America's borders), said "We've heard all kinds of rumors about whether the House supports Ukraine or doesn't. It seems to me that the easy way to solve that would be to vote."

According to Jeffries, there are "more than 300 bipartisan votes" in the House for the foreign aid package.

As Axios notes further;

Between the lines: GOP hardliners repeatedly have defied Johnson over the last several months, but the appetite for rebellion among the moderate Republicans likely to support Ukraine aid remains untested.

  • As the Government Affairs Institute's Matt Glassman points out in a useful thread: "The gap between 'what will you vote for if forced to vote' and 'what will you demand gets voted on' is huge."
  • "This is what makes discharge so hard. ... The problem is [the] cost of undermining the leadership agenda is so high that little rises to that level for most members," Glassman said — especially on an issue like Ukraine aid, which Trump and the GOP base vocally oppose.

Ukraine is getting their (US Taxpayer) money either way?

"We have to get this done," House Intel Chair Mike Turner (R-OH) told Politico. "This is no longer an issue of, 'When do we support Ukraine?' If we do not move, this will be abandoning Ukraine."

Like Democrats have abandoned the southern border?

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