Skip to content
Sign up to receive our free weekday morning edition, and you'll never miss a scoop.
Foreign aid package rule

Mike Johnson gets Democratic help on foreign aid package

After several days of internal House GOP intrigue and infighting, here’s the Republican leadership’s plan for taking up and passing the $95 billion foreign aid package, a border security bill and several related measures. Of course, since this is the wildly dysfunctional 118th Congress, we’ll note this schedule could change. So keep your head on a swivel!

The House is scheduled to vote today on the rule for the IsraelUkraineTaiwan aid bills and a “sidecar” package that includes a TikTok ban. That’s in large part thanks to the four Democrats who voted yes during the Rules Committee vote Thursday night. Democratic votes were needed because three hardline Republicans — Reps. Chip Roy (Texas), Ralph Norman (S.C.) and Thomas Massie (Ky.) — voted no. The fact that Republicans couldn’t carry this on their own was well known going into the proceedings today, but it’s still stunning to see the minority support a GOP-drafted rule in the Rules Committee.

A vote on final passage of the foreign aid package, the sidecar bill and a handful of amendments is expected Saturday afternoon and into the evening. There was some hope that Speaker Mike Johnson would expedite consideration of the legislation and hold both votes today. That didn’t happen; it will only be the rule vote this morning.

The House will also begin consideration under suspension of the House GOP’s partisan border security bill, H.R. 3602, the End the Border Catastrophe Act, on Friday. This bill is a slightly modified version of H.R. 2, which was approved on a party-line vote last May. Democratic leaders are opposing the proposal, so there’s no way it will get the required two-thirds majority needed for passage.

Johnson and the MTV. We scooped Thursday morning that there was some discussion in the House leadership about attaching language to the rule for the foreign aid bill that would boost the threshold for dumping the speaker. Currently, any single member can offer such a motion, making things largely impossible for top Republicans due to the thin margin of control.

This move made a lot of sense from a strategic perspective. House Democrats were ready to vote for the rule change since they largely support the foreign aid package. And the “vast majority” of House Republicans support raising the threshold for booting a speaker, as House Majority Leader Steve Scalise told us.

Johnson discussed the issue with members and leadership aides Wednesday, and in the end, backed away from what would’ve been an enormously controversial step, especially with conservatives. Johnson at one point huddled on the floor with the House Freedom Caucus in what appeared to be an extraordinarily heated conversation.

Yet several senior House Republicans were furious with Johnson’s decision to stand down, accusing him of abandoning any opportunity to instill some order to the body. Here’s what one senior Republican aide told us:

Rank-and-file House Democrats were likewise perplexed by Johnson. Democrats told us they would have supported the change to quiet the “chaos corner” in the House Republican Conference.

But the Democratic leadership was wary of backing the move to change the motion to vacate before Johnson passed the Ukraine bill, according to several members and senior aides. Democrats called the dynamic a “late entrance” into negotiations that were already in a “good place,” adding that it “unsettled” the talks around passing the foreign aid supplemental.

Democrats also told us there will be “more than enough” of their lawmakers to table any motion to oust Johnson after he passes the Ukraine-Taiwan-Israel supplemental.

And here’s some news: The House Freedom Caucus met on Thursday evening and raised concerns about ousting Johnson in an election year.

Some members were unhappy about the possibility of Johnson being replaced by Scalise, who could end up staying in that post for the foreseeable future.

The majority of HFC members are currently against a motion to vacate, despite being extremely angry at Johnson, sources told us.

— Jake Sherman, John Bresnahan, Heather Caygle and Mica Soellner

Presented by AARP

AARP knows older voters. 

We’ve made it our business to know what matters to people 50 and over—like we know that protecting Social Security and supporting family caregivers are among their top priorities. Learn more from our polling in Pennsylvania.

Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.