Johnson not planning to put Senate foreign aid bill to a vote, weighing other options: GOP source

President Biden and Democrats in Congress have been pushing Johnson to take up the Senate-passed $95 billion foreign aid bill as dueling discharge petitions make their way through the GOP-led House.
Speaker Johnson

Despite stepped up pressure from President Biden and Democrats in Congress, House Speaker Mike Johnson has no plans to put the $95 billion Senate-passed foreign aid bill up for a vote in the House, according to a GOP congressional source close to the deliberations.

Johnson hasn't yet determined a path forward on foreign aid but it won't be in the form of the Senate-passed legislation, the source added.

An option to loan Ukraine some of the money, rather than provide it all as cash that doesn't need to be repaid, is under consideration, Just the News also learned.

There has been some speculation that Johnson would put the Senate bill up for a vote and pass it with the help of Democratic votes after he reportedly told GOP senators he wants to find a way to provide more aid to Ukraine. 

The Senate funding bill would cover aid to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and humanitarian aid efforts in Gaza. The aid to Ukraine takes up the majority of that bill at about $61 billion.

As recent as Friday, Biden advocated for Johnson to pass Ukraine aid, specifically.

"I'm deeply grateful for Ireland's unwavering humanitarian aid to the people of not only Ukraine, but also Gaza," Biden said at the annual Friends of Ireland luncheon on Capitol Hill with Johnson in the room.

“I’m confident the vast majority — and excuse me for saying this — but I think a vast majority of members of Congress are willing to do their part. And I continue to urge every member in this room to stand up to Vladimir Putin. He’s a thug,” he added.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a recent floor speech that Johnson should “finish the job" and pass the aid package.

In the meantime, competing discharge petitions are making their way through the GOP-led House.

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., is seeking signatures for a petition that would force a vote on the Senate-passed bill while Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., is trying to garner enough signatures for a petition that would force a vote on a different version.

A discharge petition needs 218 signatures to force a vote on legislation. So far, a dozen lawmakers signed Fitzpatrick's petition and 177 have signed McGovern's petition.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned on Thursday that U.S. forces could be “in combat” if Congress fails to pass the $61 billion in aid to Ukraine.

"Those adjacent nations — Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland — are all members of NATO. We have a solemn treaty obligation to defend those nations, and we could have Americans in harm's way or in combat if we don't stop Putin now in Ukraine," said Warner. "We could have Americans in harm's way or in combat if we don't stop Putin now in Ukraine."

Warner said the U.S. is at a historic moment, comparing the present challenges with the Ukraine war to World War II.

"I think the comparisons to when the West turned a blind eye to Hitler's early aggression in Austria and Czechoslovakia, I think those are not overstatements in terms of the moment we are facing at this point, and the rest of the world is watching," he said. "We have helped keep the peace for 70 years since the end of the second world war and if we were to walk away from our Ukrainian allies at this point, it will be a disaster."