Already, newly elected Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is creating new partisan tangles in Washington.
The young leader of the Republican majority is drawing stark, moderate lines on the blank canvas of his high-level political career. He is staking out a dangerous confrontation with Democrats as well as Senate Republicans over funding for Israel, which has the potential to either expand or weaken his authority from the beginning.
Mike Johnson cautioned Republican senators on Wednesday that a broader package that also funds Taiwan, Ukraine, and the U.S. southern border cannot pass the House and that American military assistance to Israel must proceed independently.
Additionally, Johnson informed the Republican-controlled senators that while he is in favor of providing military assistance to Ukraine, it must come with changes to strengthen border security.
According to his actions, Johnson appears to be either as much of a captive to hard-right conservatives as previous president Kevin McCarthy was, or he is determined to use his position to incite more unrest and conflict because he is one of them himself.
On Monday, House Republicans unveiled a 13-page bill that would fully eliminate foreign aid by taking $14.3 billion out of the Inflation Reduction Act that was passed the previous year. The law specifically targets a portion of the $80 billion that was allotted to the Internal Revenue Service to conduct audits on high-net-worth individuals.
Senator. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) reports that Mike Johnson stated he wants to put “Israel first” but that he favors getting a bill aiding Ukraine to the House floor.
Senator. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said that Johnson informed senators that he wanted to approve a $14.3 billion aid package for Israel, which will be funded by a corresponding reduction to the IRS budget, before moving forward with a plan to support Ukraine.
According to the White House brief, the measure also jeopardizes other important, bipartisan national security priorities, such as assisting Ukraine in preventing Putin from using Iranian weaponry to massacre its inhabitants and providing humanitarian aid to defenseless civilians in Gaza who are also being attacked by Hamas terrorists.
Mike Johnson will waste time less than two weeks before the government could shut down if fresh federal funding isn’t granted, by staging the first conflict of his administration over the Israel deal.
His show of strength could be an attempt to gain political clout with hardliners as he gets ready for the far larger financing battle when he might have to make the same kind of difficult compromises to keep the government running that brought down McCarthy.
However, if he forces McConnell and the Democratic-controlled Senate too far, he may incite fresh hostility that will influence the upcoming budget battle.
Additionally, Johnson informed senators that to prevent a government shutdown later this year, he wants to propose a stopgap funding plan that extends until 2024. According to Hawley, he suggested a stopgap that would last until March or April.
According to Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Johnson suggested approving a continuing resolution to finance the government through January 15.
Speaker Mike Johnson’s Statements In Interview
A large number of conservatives rejected Mike Johnson’s decision to not bring the complete package to the House floor, as he made plain over the weekend.
In an interview, Johnson stated that the House would be moving a stand-alone bill to support Israel that week. He continued by saying that he was aware that their Republican Senate colleagues had a similar bill.
Johnson asserted that numerous global issues needed to be addressed, and they will. But at that moment, he continued, Israel’s situation required a quick response.
He stated that he was going to work very hard to get it passed and that he believed they had to separate that. He also stated that he expected there would be bipartisan backing for it.