House Speaker Mike Johnson told the newspaper that the Ukraine aid bill ranks second in funding for the government


WHITE SULFUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — House Speaker Mike Johnson indicated Wednesday evening that the chamber will not move on a supplemental aid package for Ukraine until it finishes the work of financing the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year.

Johnson (R-Los Angeles) emphasized his support for Kiev against the Russian invasion during a “fireside chat” with The Post's Josh Christenson at the House GOP issues conference, but claimed that moving too quickly on a bill that includes $60 billion in aid to the East Middle. Europe could have sunk government spending talks.

“It was important for us not to put the supplement in front of appropriations bills because it would likely affect the eventual vote count on appropriations and we had to get our government funded,” Johnson said.

The Post's Josh Christenson interviewed House Speaker Mike Johnson at a media event during a GOP retreat.

House Republicans have been at loggerheads for nearly six months over government funding and leadership has repeatedly had to rely on Democrats to avoid a partial government shutdown.

The infighting over earmarks helped pave the way for the ouster of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) last October. Many hardliners at his conference objected to additional aid to Ukraine Some even threatened to try to fire Johnson If the issue is put to a vote.

Over the weekend, President Biden signed a nearly $460 billion package that includes six of the 12 spending bills needed to fund the government through September 30, when the 2024 fiscal year ends.

Johnson is now trying to discuss the six remaining spending bills before the deadline for the second partial lockdown on March 22. This second tranche is expected to represent more than two-thirds of Washington's total discretionary spending — including Pentagon spending — and will therefore be more stringent. To direct through Congress.

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Last month, the Senate passed a bipartisan $95 billion supplemental bill that included nearly $60 billion for Ukraine, but Johnson refused to vote on it in the House, much to Biden's dismay.

“We're processing all the different options right now on that. It may not look exactly like the Senate Annex,” Johnson told the newspaper.

President Biden repeated his calls for House Speaker Mike Johnson to accept aid to Ukraine during his State of the Union address last week. Michael Reynolds/Paul via CNP/

“By the way, I will note that they have been working on this bill — the Senate bill — for about four months, by my estimate, and they expect me to address it within days or weeks,” he added. “I understand the timeline and I understand the urgency and the funding.”

A flood of Democrats and even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have urged Johnson to deliver the aid package to Ukraine as Kiev's forces suffer battlefield losses amid a munitions shortage.

Nobody wants Vladimir Putin to win. I am of the opinion that it will not stop in Ukraine. “If it is allowed, it will pass through Europe,” Johnson said on Wednesday.

Speaker Mike Johnson touched on a range of hot-button issues during his wide-ranging interview with The Post. Getty Images

He continued: “There is right and wrong there – good versus evil, in my view, and Ukraine is the victim here… They have been invaded.” “We stand with goodness”

But Johnson blamed the aid delay on Biden and his administration for not answering “key questions” about the conduct of the war and its outcomes that are palatable to the United States.

“This process has been delayed, not because of the House, but because in my view — because of the White House's unwillingness or inability to provide the answers needed for us to address this sooner,” Johnson said.

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Republicans have also long demanded that any additional supplement be tied to US border security reforms, but a Senate agreement to address both issues failed last month and was rejected by Johnson.

“These matters have not been addressed yet. The borders are wide open. This is the biggest disaster on our shores in our lifetime.”

“I am not the person who presented Ukraine's concept [the] Boundaries are tied together in terms of our policy discussions. “It was the president himself,” Johnson said.

The Ukrainians began to suffer military setbacks as ammunition ran low. Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

McCarthy was too Keen on border reforms The Ukrainian aid will be paired together before he falls as speaker of parliament.

Recently, some House Republicans, led by House Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), moved forward with a recall petition — a legislative tactic to bypass Johnson and secure a House vote on Ukraine aid.

Democrats also moved forward with their own dismissal petition to accept the $95 billion Senate-passed package.

President Biden asked Congress to renew aid to Ukraine last August, but the legislature has been deadlocked since then. Getty Images

The Biden administration on Tuesday unveiled a $300 billion military aid tranche for Ukraine funded by cost savings from Defense Department contracts.

Johnson also expressed hope that McConnell would not give up trying to sign a border reform package.

“I certainly hope he doesn't give up on that because the American people haven't given up on him and they're demanding that we act. We passed HR 2… 11 months ago now. We can't give up on that — we have to insist on it,” the spokesman said.

The House Republican Issues Conference kicked off Wednesday at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, where lawmakers gathered to formulate policy ideas for the rest of the legislative year.

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