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House speaker goes own way on wartime funding

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Mike Johnson on Monday unveiled a complicated proposal for passing wartime aid for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan, leaving its path to passage deeply uncertain as he rejected pressure to simply approve a package sent over by the Senate.

The Republican speaker huddled with fellow GOP lawmakers Monday evening to lay out his strategy to gain House approval for the funding package.

Facing an outright rebellion from conservatives fiercely opposed to aiding Ukraine, Johnson said he would push to get the package to the House floor under a single debate rule, then hold separate votes on aid for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and several foreign policy proposals, according to Republican lawmakers.

However, the package would deviate from the $95 billion aid package passed by the Senate in February, clouding its prospects for final passage in Congress.

Johnson’s approach could further incite the populist conservatives who are already angry at his direction as speaker.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, is already threatening to push to oust him as speaker. As she entered the closed-door Republican meeting Monday, she said her message to the speaker was “Don’t fund Ukraine.”

The GOP meeting was filled with lawmakers at odds in their approach to Ukraine: Republican defense hawks, including the top lawmakers on national security committees, who want Johnson to finally take up the national security supplemental package as a bundle, are pitted against populist conservatives who are fiercely opposed to continued support for Kyiv’s fight at all.

Senior Republicans and Democrats were also growing impatient after Johnson had offered them assurances that he would bring Ukraine aid to the floor.

“The House must rush to Israel’s aid as quickly as humanly possible, and the only way to do that is passing the Senate’s supplemental ASAP,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

Meanwhile, the White House would oppose a stand-alone bill that only addressed aid for Israel, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

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