Johnson: Some Republicans want Speaker to have a ‘magic wand’

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Wednesday dismissed conservative criticism over the lack of border security provisions in his latest foreign aid proposal, blaming the lack of action on Senate and White House Democrats, whom he claims are preventing security of the border.

“Some of my colleagues want the Speaker of the House to have a magic wand,” Johnson said Wednesday on FOX Business Network’s “Kudlow.” “If we could close the border ourselves, we would have done it a long time ago.”

His remarks came just hours after he released the legislative text for three bills that would combine military assistance to Ukraine, Israel and allies in the Indo-Pacific with humanitarian aid for Gaza. The bills come after months of delays after his initial proposal was criticized by the right flank.

The foreign aid bills do not include a border security measure, reversing his previous indication that any aid for Ukraine would be tied to border security measures. He said Wednesday the separate measure will include “core components” from H.R. 2.

Despite any attempt to appease the right flank, a number of conservatives criticized Johnson’s move, accusing him of cutting bipartisan deals with President Biden.

Speaking with FOX Business Network host Larry Kudlow, Johnson pointed to the House’s passage of H.R. 2 last year and how the Democratic-controlled Senate chose not to move it forward.

“It’s sitting on Chuck Schumer’s desk. That had all the components, close the border, change asylum, processes and problems, the … end catch-and-release, and reinstate Remain in Mexico, all the things that President Trump had done so effectively, Biden reflexively did the opposite. And that’s been the problem,” Johnson said. “We passed resolutions, Larry. We passed the laws. They sit in Chuck Schumer’s … on his desk in the Senate, because, again, the Democrats run the Senate. The Democrats run the White House. And they want an open border.”

In floor remarks delivered Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Democrats are “glad” to debate with the other side of the aisle on the border. He argued House Republicans “wasted time” on an impeachment effort against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and pointed to his previous efforts to take action at the border. The Senate later dismissed the two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, shutting down the possibility of a Senate trial.

“If Republicans, instead of spending so much time and energy on this meritless impeachment work with Democrats on border reform, then we might have actually gotten something done. If House Republicans want to have a serious debate on border security, we welcome it,” Schumer said in a press conference following the impeachment dismissal vote.

Johnson noted the House plans to bring a border bill — titled the End The Border Catastrophe Act — to the House floor later this week.

He echoed the sentiment in a separate interview on CNN’s “The Lead With Jake Tapper,” where he promoted lower expectations for the GOP conference given the party’s paper-thin majority.

“We’re not going to get 100 percent of what we want right now, because we have the smallest majority in history,” he told CNN anchor Jake Tapper.  “By definition, we won’t get everything we want.”

“But we got a great product here, at the end much better than the alternative that came in the Senate supplemental,” he continued. “And now everybody gets to vote their conscience up or down. That’s what we’re for.”

The mounting pressure on Johnson comes amid an ouster threat from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who introduced the motion to vacate Johnson last month after he pushed forward an omnibus spending package to avert a partial government shutdown.

Rep. Thomas Massie (Ky.) came out Tuesday as the first Republican to publicly back Greene’s motion. He cited Johnson’s plan to put Ukraine aid on the floor, along with his handling of government funding and the reauthorization of the U.S.’s warrantless surveillance authority in a vote last week.

Several GOP members have voiced opposition toward booting Johnson, and multiple Democrats have said they would be willing to save the Speaker depending on how he handles Ukraine aid.

This story was updated at 7:36 p.m. EDT

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.