Mike Johnson says House will vote on Ukraine and Israel aid this week

Mike Johnson says House will vote on Ukraine and Israel aid this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson has announced that plans push on with votes on fresh aid for Israel and Ukraine – after months of delays around sending billions of dollars worth of military aid to Kyiv.

Days after Iran launched a missile and drone attack on Israel, Mr Johnson announced he would try and advance the aid package amid the immense political pressure he has been receiving over how to handle foreign aid, including Republicans who threatened to oust him if he moves forward with gresh funding to help Ukraine defend itself from Russia’s invasion.

A Senate-approved package $95 billion (£76bn) – which includes aid to Ukraine, Israel and involves a number of other foreign policy priorities – has been sitting for weeks, while Ukraine has faced ammunition shortages and intense Russian attacks.

"There are precipitating events around the globe that we’re all watching very carefully and we know that the world is watching us to see how we react," Mr Johnson said on Monday.

After meeting with other Republican lawmakers on Monday, Mr Johnson said he would prepare a legislative package that mirrors the $95 billion bill, but divided into three separate sections.

Lawmakers will vote separately on a bill to send funds to Israel, another to allocate money for Ukraine and a third voting on aid for Taiwan and other allies.

Mr Johnson added on X that within his plan, he seeks to “pass additional measures to counter our adversaries and strengthen our national security.”

The initial Senate-passed bill, which received wide bipartisan support, includes roughly $60 billion for Ukraine and $14 billion for Israel.

Democrats have repeatedly called on the speaker to put this package on the floor, but Mr Johnson’s plan now seeks to divide up the separate issues.

“Every member ultimately will be able to vote their own conscience on all of these matters and everybody have the opportunity to weigh in,” Mr Johnson said after the Republican briefing on Monday, according to The Washington Post, who added that the earliest the House could consider the bills is Friday.

“I think the final product will be something that everybody can take confidence in because they got to vote their district.”

Mr Johnson also has expressed his support for legislation that would require some of the Ukraine funding to be paid back.

GOP Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has threatened to oust Mr Johnson from his speakership, was quick to criticise the plans as she emerged from Monday’s briefing.

“This is such a scam, and people are done with it,” she said, later posting on X on Tuesday that she will be not be voting for the rule on Mr Johnson’s plan.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson told CNN that he remains unconcerned about the threats to oust him if he moves forward with Ukraine aid, saying, “I don’t spend my time worrying about motions to vacate. We’re having to govern here, and we’re going to do our job.”

The speaker has also left open the possibility that the bills could be repackaged together, similar to the Senate bill, but this would not fare well with some conservatives.

Arizona Rep Andy Biggs wrote on X that he would not support merging the bills, saying that “Israel funding should not be held hostage by Ukraine funding. The American people deserve to know where their senators stand on each funding component.”

Other lawmakers have supported Mr Johnson’s plans, including Oklahoma Rep Kevin Hern, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, which includes the majority of House Republicans, who told reporters that he thinks “the speaker is doing the right thing.”