The Israel assistance bill has causedUkraine aid to be in doubt

The Fate of U.S. Aid to Ukraine Is Doubly: Congressman Tom McCarthy’s First Appropriate Representation

The fate of U.S. aid to Ukraine is in doubt, as the Louisiana Republican who has been a vocal opponent of funding the war effort, is now the speaker of the house.

The issue that helped lead to his predecessor’s removal was one of the two issues that bitterly divided the House Republican conference. Now it falls to Mr. Johnson, a fourth-term congressman who has never served in a top leadership position before, to try to keep his anti-spending party united and the government open — all in a matter of weeks.

Mr. McCarthy proposed a stopgap measure that slashed spending just before the government shut down. Twenty-one conservative lawmakers opposed it, tanking the bill and declaring that they would not vote for a temporary funding measure under any circumstances.

Mr. Johnson was among a majority of Republicans who opposed that stopgap spending bill. He said Wednesday that he wanted to see conditions imposed on additional aid for Ukraine for its war against Russian aggression.

Mr. Johnson has suggested that he would back a temporary measure to keep government funding flowing through January or April, in order to give the hardright more time to pass the 12 individual annual spending bills. But he has not said what spending levels he would favor.

Representative Ralph Norman of South Carolina, a member of the Freedom Caucus, suggested that the hard-right flank of the party would be inclined to give Mr. Johnson more leeway on spending than they gave Mr. McCarthy because they trust his conservative bona fides.

“He doesn’t start from the position of way up and go up,” Mr. Norman said of Mr. Johnson and federal spending. He starts from the position of up and goes down.

Yet Mr. Norman also said he wanted to see a temporary spending bill that slashed spending to prepandemic levels — something that could never pass the Democratic-controlled Senate or be signed by Mr. Biden. That would violate the agreement Mr. McCarthy struck in June with the president to suspend the debt ceiling and cap federal spending.

“Extremist funding bills that make cuts way below the bipartisan June agreement will not fly,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader. “If Speaker Johnson tries to send those cuts over here, they’re not going to happen. On arrival, they will be dead. All they will do is waste more time at a moment when every day counts.”

I told Speaker McCarthy the same thing I told Speaker Johnson. Bipartisanship is the only way to fund the government in a divided government.

The Biden administration asked for a $105 billion package of funding for Israel and Ukraine, which could cause a stopgap funding measure to get folded into. The aid package will be up for a hearing next week in the Senate.

In September, when lawmakers were racing to try to avoid a government shutdown, a bipartisan Senate stopgap plan included $6 billion for Ukraine. But Mr. McCarthy stripped the aid from his plan, recognizing the sharp decline in Republican support for sending more federal dollars to Kyiv. Democrats swallowed the plan so as to keep the government open so that Congress can pass a bigger aid package later in the year.

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He added that his support would not be absolute. Mr. Johnson said there would be conditions on that. “We want accountability and we want objectives that are clear from the White House.”

Chip Roy, an influential anti-spending conservative, wrote on social media that Speaker Mike Johnson was not welcome in the House. “We will not join Israel and Ukraine, we will not throw money at the border, & all supplementals must be paid for — as a starter. Game on.”

“Our consensus among House Republicans is that we need to bifurcate those issues,” Mr. Johnson said of Ukraine and Israel assistance in an interview on Thursday with Sean Hannity of Fox News.

Mr. Johnson emphasized the importance of stewardship, saying that the White House needed to give the people with some accountability for the dollars.

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