US Speaker Mike Johnson says House will vote on Ukraine and Israel aid this week

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The Speaker of the US House of Representatives has said the chamber will vote on separate bills to provide aid for Ukraine and Israel this week, a move that faces legislative hurdles but could end months of congressional inaction over support for Kyiv.

Mike Johnson made his proposal for votes on four separate bills, including funding for Taiwan and one that would impose more sanctions on Iran and allow Ukraine to cash in on seized Russian assets, in a meeting with fellow House Republicans on Monday evening.

“We have terrorists and tyrants and terrible leaders around the world like Putin and Xi and in Iran, and they are watching to see if America will stand up for its allies and our own interests around the globe, and we will,” Johnson said after the meeting.

“We laid out the plan on how to finally address the supplemental situation,” he said, referring to an existing $95bn bill to fund US allies that passed the Senate in February but has stalled in the House.

“It is a priority,” Johnson added, referring to his plan to hold votes on separate bills instead. “I do expect that this will be done this week.”

Johnson’s intervention came two days after Iran launched an attack on Israel, the US’s closest ally in the Middle East — but also marked his first meaningful step to send more aid to Kyiv to support its two-year-old war against Russian aggression.

US allies in Europe and Ukraine’s leaders have for months urged Congress to authorise more aid for Kyiv, warning that Ukrainian forces were running out of ammunition and could lose more ground against Russian forces without additional American support.

As Speaker, Johnson, an ally of former president Donald Trump, decides the House’s legislative agenda and has refused since February to call a vote on the joint package of aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Johnson’s hesitation has been seen in part as a reaction to Trump and other more isolationist Republicans opposing billions of dollars in additional aid to Kyiv. On Friday, Johnson travelled to Mar-a-Lago to see Trump, who later told reporters he was “looking at” a Ukraine aid bill. Trump did not immediately comment on Johnson’s latest proposal on Monday.

Johnson has faced mounting pressure in recent days from the White House as well as Senate Democrats and Republicans, who have urged Congress to act swiftly in the aftermath of Iran’s attack on Israel.

But it remained unclear on Monday whether Johnson’s proposal would garner enough support to pass a divided lower chamber, where Republicans have a razor-thin majority, or the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Johnson is likely to rely on House Democrats to vote for the bills, given opposition to Ukraine funding from some of Trump’s allies in the House Republican caucus.

“The Ukraine piece is, clearly, on the Republican side, the most controversial one, I think, the one that has the most difference of opinion . . . I think the American people deserve to have it explained to them why it is in Americans’ interests to assist here,” he said.

Johnson’s speakership has been on shaky ground for weeks, since Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, an outspoken opponent of Ukraine aid, threatened to trigger a vote of no confidence in his leadership. On Monday Johnson brushed aside suggestions that Greene would try and oust him over his latest proposal, saying, “I don’t spend my time worrying about a motion to vacate.”

The White House did not immediately respond to Johnson’s proposal on Monday night. US President Joe Biden called on Congress to act on the supplemental aid bill earlier on Monday, in remarks welcoming Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala to Washington.

“We’re committed to doing our part,” Biden said. “But Congress has to pass . . . our bipartisan national security bill, and they have to do it now.”

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