Speaker Mike Johnson Faces Increasing Pressure to Pass Ukraine Aid

Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger holds a Political Science and History BS and is working towards a Masters in Public Administration. Before his time at Atlas he joined GoodPolitical to serve as a writer and contributor while also expanding his knowledge on global events. Matthew is proud to be a part of a news organization that believes in delivering truthful, unfiltered, and unbiased news to people around the world.

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What Happened: 

An aid bill that would give Ukraine more money to support buying ammunition and supplies for their troops has been stalled in the House of Representatives for months. It has created immense pressure on the speaker, Mike Johnson, and the House to pass something soon.

Johnson is facing pressure from members of his own party to create a plan or be gone around as they threaten to ally with Democrats. He has signaled that the House won’t consider any foreign aid package until it finishes funding the rest of the government, which could happen as soon as next week.

There is vocal concern about the amount of time it may take to pass an aid bill. Members of both parties have been voicing concerns about how long it will take to get the bill moving towards Ukraine once passed.

The Details:

The next government shut-down deadline is March 22, with a longer recess scheduled afterwards. The push to get funding for Ukraine is followed by warnings from House Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers (R-AL), who has stated, “Pushing it off until next Friday is reckless, and I have made that clear.” Military officials have warned that Ukraine will run out of ammunition in a matter of weeks without the passage of a bill.

Johnson said in a statement on Wednesday, “We will work the will of the House, and that’s important.” But he did not provide a potential timeline. “There is a right and a wrong; there is good versus evil, in my view. And Ukraine is the victim here. They were invaded,” the speaker said. “We’re processing through the various options right now.”

There are two current House petitions that would force votes on the aid bill. One is Democrat only, while the other is attached to conservative border security measures. Neither measure has the 218 signatures needed to force a vote, but it is a looming reminder of the pressure on the speaker.

Johnson is dealing with a fractured GOP, many of which have expressed the urgency of the bill. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) said he expressed to Johnson “a sense of urgency and that this is going to be part of our historical legacy.” Some aid-skeptical Republicans have requested that the aid be passed in the form of a loan in order to get their vote on the bill. It puts Johnson in a difficult position, as any bill regarding aid runs the risk of alienating different lawmakers.

Rep. Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said that if the speaker stalls any longer, it means the bill will not be debated until mid-April. Smith stated “The choice that Mike Johnson faces at this point is binary: Give us a vote on the Senate bill, or abandon Ukraine,” Smith said. “He’s trying to pretend like he has a different option, but he doesn’t.”

Johnson also said that the bill the House may pass “may not look exactly like the Senate supplemental.”

What’s Next:

Entities outside of the House have been very critical of how the bill has stalled. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said “we don’t have time for all of this” in response to the continued stalling. World leaders have also been critical of the U.S. and its slow response. Aid to Ukraine has been targeted by Republican nominee Donald Trump who has been vocally against sending more money unless it is in the form of a loan.

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) stated what many people are fearful of: “Bottom line, the pipeline is nearly empty,” Quigley said. “Let’s just say we resolve this next week. It’s gonna take a while to fill the pipeline and get stuff into the battlefield. We’re losing time.”

The longer the aid takes to pass, the longer the negotiations and processes will take to get the aid sent to Ukraine. Republicans and Democrats alike are trying to rally bi-partisan support, but the vocal criticism from Trump has some Republicans doubting how they will pass the bill.