Latest News 19-04-2024 08:03 10 Views

GOP rebels derail Johnson’s border security pitch over fury at $95B foreign aid plan

A meeting to advance Speaker Mike Johnson’s latest border security bill abruptly ended on Wednesday night without a vote on whether the measure will hit the House floor.

'Sorry, not sorry, for opposing a cr---y rule that is a show vote / cover vote for funding Ukraine instead of border security,' Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, wrote on X after the meeting imploded.

He’s one of three Republican foreign aid hawks on the House Rules Committee, which is the final barrier before a piece of legislation hits the House floor.

It comes as conservative rebels in the House GOP conference criticize the speaker’s decision not to link border security measures to his $95 billion foreign aid plan. 

Johnson told lawmakers on Wednesday that the House would consider separate foreign aid bills on Ukraine, Israel, the Indo-Pacific and a fourth bill including various foreign policy provisions. If passed, they would be sent to the Senate in a combined package.

To appease Republicans concerned about not using it as an opportunity to crack down on the border crisis, he also unveiled a separate bill similar to H.R.2, the comprehensive immigration and border enforcement bill House Republicans passed last year but which the Democrat-controlled Senate refused to take up. He said that bill would go through procedural hurdles parallel to the foreign aid bills, rather than alongside them.

In a remarkable moment toward the end of the meeting, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., the top Democrat on the committee, acknowledged that the bill has no support from Democrats and likely no future in Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's Senate. He also pointed out that the three conservative rebels on the panel would likely vote against the bill as well – meaning it would not even survive their committee.

'We've been here. We've done this already. We know what the Senate is going to do. And my three colleagues, who I know have been expressing some discontent about what's going on here, I mean, maybe we can end this hearing. I mean, I think if the three of you vote 'no' on this rule, we're done,' McGovern said.

He pointed out that Roy called it a 'watered-down, dangerous cover vote' and asked him, along with Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., and Ralph Norman, R-S.C., if they planned to vote in favor of advancing the bill. 

Massie and Roy would not say, with Roy adding, 'I think I'm pretty well publicly not in favor of what's going here.' Norman said he would oppose the bill.

The hearing soon recessed without a conclusion.

Foreign aid and aid to Ukraine, specifically, have proven to be politically fraught topics for Johnson as he navigates a historically slim House majority and new threats from fellow Republicans to trigger a vote on his ouster.

Johnson has argued that tying U.S. border measures to foreign aid, especially Ukraine, would kill its chances of passing .'We want the border to be part of every single thing we do here,' he told reporters on Thursday morning, adding, 'We don’t have the votes. If you put Ukraine in any package, you can’t also do the border because I lose Republican votes on that rule. My friends don’t get it.'

He was initially aiming for a Saturday vote on the foreign aid bills as well as the measure on border security. It's not clear how the Wednesday evening chaos will affect that schedule.

Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report


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