Johnson Whips Out Ukraine Funding Promise To Appease Senate, No Mention Of Border Security

 House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) told Republican Senators that the House would be sending over legislation to send more US taxpayer funds to defend Ukraine's border.

Photo: Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

This bite at the apple, however, will "look substantially different than the $95 billion foreign aid package the senate passed last month," according to The Hill.

For starters, Johnson suggested that the package could be a loan or lend-lease program in order to pretend that the US will ever see any return on the 'investment' - an idea floated by former President Donald Trump last month.

Next, Johnson suggested something similar to the REPO for Ukrainians Act sponsored by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), which would allow for the confiscation of Russian sovereign assets - which would be liquidated and deposited into a Ukraine support fund, senators told the outlet.

Absent from the discussion was any mention of whether US border reforms would be included, such as "Remain in Mexico" language, which Senate Democrats would vehemently support.

Singing a different tune to the press?

While Johnson made all sorts of promises to the Senate, he told the NY Post that Ukraine funding will take a backseat to funding the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year.

Johnson (R-La.) underscored his support for Kyiv against Russia’s invasion during a “Fireside Chat’ with The Post’s Josh Christenson at the House GOP Issues Conference, but claimed that moving too quickly on a bill that includes $60 billion in assistance for eastern Europe could have sunk government spending talks.

"It was important for us to not put the supplemental in front of the appropriations bills because it would affect, probably, the vote tally ultimately on the appropriations and we had to get our government funded," he told the outlet.

Johnson's appeal to the senate came one day after Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pressured him to bring the Senate-passed package funding Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan to the House floor.

"I did get the sense that after the appropriations bills were taken care of that they would turn to that, and there have been a number of suggestions. One has to do with the forfeiture, basically, of $300 billion in Russian assets, which I think is a great idea," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who was one of 22 GOP senators who voted for the package last month.

As for seizing Russian assets, Cornyn said "It would be justice to make the Russians to pay for Ukraine, pay the United States and allies for arming Ukraine."

Cornyn also voiced support for the lend-lease program for Ukraine, either on top of - or instead of, the $60 billion included in the Senate's emergency funding package.

"That’s what FDR did in World War II," Cornyn said of the lend-lease program, referring to Franklin Roosevelt's 1941 program to arm Britain and other allies against Nazi Germany - a horrible comparison.

After hearing from Johnson, Cornyn said he’s “pretty optimistic” about the House sending a Ukraine aid package to the Senate.

“I’ve heard the Speaker now say ‘We’re not going to leave Ukraine empty-handed,’ or words to that effect,” he said.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who also attended the meeting, said the Speaker clearly stated his intention to help Ukraine.

He was pretty clear about it,” Cramer said of Johnson’s indication that he would like to pass a lend-lease program and legislation to seize Russian assets to pay for a Ukraine support fund. -The Hill

"No one wants Vladimir Putin to prevail. I’m of the opinion that he wouldn’t stop at Ukraine … and go all through the way through Europe," Johnson told reporters during the House Republican retreat at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia late Wednesday. "There is a right and wrong there, a good versus evil in my view, and Ukraine is the victim here."

Lindsey Graham (R-SC), meanwhile, said that a lend-lease program would help Ukraine to stop Russia from making gains on the battlefield.

"I think it’s an elegant solution, particularly with the REPO Act, where you can take oligarch assets," he said, apparently very excited over the prospect of sending more Ukrainians to die on the premise that Putin won't stop at Ukraine.

Graham suggested that any loan to Ukraine would be "waivable" and wouldn't carry interest.

But of course.

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