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Speaker Johnson pushes $95B foreign aid package amid ouster threats

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — House Speaker Mike Johnson is holding firm Thursday on his decision to back a foreign aid package that has drawn major backlash from some of his GOP colleagues.

Johnson remains in the hot seat as he risks losing his leadership post for pushing the foreign aid measure, which even gained the support of President Joe Biden.

“I will sign this into law immediately to send a message to the world: We stand with our friends, and we won’t let Iran or Russia succeed,” Biden said.

Johnson’s foreign aid package

The aid package would provide $95 billion in military assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan in three separate bills. A fourth bill would provide funding for Republican national security priorities.

However, Johnson faces resistance from several of his party members who are unhappy that the foreign aid package excludes border security funding.

For months, the speaker had said that any assistance for Kyiv must be paired with legislation to address the situation at the southern border. Now, the speaker’s stance risks his slim margin in the House, and Johnson will likely have to rely on House Democrats to help him pass the four funding bills.

“My philosophy is, you do the right thing and you let the chips fall where they may. If I operated out of fear over a motion to vacate, I would never be able to do my job,” Johnson said.

The speaker pushed ahead on a plan to hold votes on the three funding packages — to provide about $61 billion for Ukraine, $26 billion for Israel and $8 billion to allies in the Indo-Pacific — as well as several other foreign policy proposals in a fourth bill. The plan roughly matches the amounts that the Senate has already approved.

Conservatives threaten to remove Johnson

Johnson has already faced threats from two Republicans saying they support removing him as speaker if these bills pass.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has already introduced a motion to vacate but hasn’t forced a vote quite yet.

Earlier this week, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., said he’d support Greene’s effort.

“The motion will get called and he’s going to lose more votes than Kevin McCarthy. I told him this in private weeks ago,” Massie said.

Johnson pushed back on the growing ouster effort against him Tuesday, calling it “absurd” and “not helpful.”

Greene posted to X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday, claiming Johnson wasn’t the GOP’s speaker but rather a speaker for the Democrats.

“Chuck Schumer bragged on the Senate floor about Speaker Johnson giving Democrats everything they want in the foreign war bill and for Ukraine. Joe Biden just announced he supports the House bill Johnson is forcing forward. Johnson is not our speaker, he is theirs,” she wrote.

Johnson attempts to ease tension

On Wednesday, House GOP leaders introduced a new border security bill designed to appease the conservatives who are up in arms that the foreign aid package excluded tougher measures to battle migration.

Johnson said he would move a separate border security bill as the House considered the foreign aid measures, a move largely viewed as a way to pacify the conservative anger. He said the border security bill would move under a separate procedural rule from the Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan measures.

The gambit was met with sharp — and immediate — criticism from hard-line Republicans, who dismissed the new border bill as weak and part of a bad-faith effort by Johnson to satisfy the conservative concerns.

“That is a joke,” Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, told reporters of the border bill. “That’s pretend. That’s theater. That’s noise.”

“It’s a theatrics, shiny object,” Greene echoed. “It’s the shiny object for Republicans that are saying we got to do something for the border.”

The House is expected to vote on the border bill in the coming days as part of Johnson’s plan to send aid to embattled U.S. allies. But even if it passes the House it will face a dead end in the Senate, where many of the provisions are nonstarters among Democrats.

Johnson pushes foreign aid bills

Johnson is expected to bring the four foreign aid bills up for a vote over the weekend. Democrats are largely expected to support the foreign aid bills, while it’s uncertain how Republicans will vote.

The House speaker explained the threat of Russian President Vladimir Putin winning the war against Ukraine and taking on other NATO allies next is too great of a risk to play politics with.

“To put it bluntly, I would rather send bullets to Ukraine than American boys,” Johnson said. “My son is going to begin in the Naval Academy this fall. This is a live-fire exercise for me as it is so many American families. This is not a game, it’s not a joke. We can’t play politics of this, we have to do the right thing and I’m going to allow an opportunity for every single member of the House to vote their conscience and their will on this.”

Johnson continued, “I think that’s the way this institution is supposed to work and I’m willing to take a personal risk for that because we have to do the right thing and history will judge us.”

The Hill contributed to this report.