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Centrist Republicans and Democrats could work together to pass $95 billion foreign aid bill, potentially bypassing Speaker Johnson.

Mr. Johnson could try to halt the $95.3 billion foreign aid bill’s final passage by refusing to take it up for a vote on the House side, but House Democrats could still force the vote if they can garner enough support from Republicans who favor the foreign aid bill in its current state.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is signaling opposition to a $95.3 billion supplemental spending bill that provides foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, but the bill may yet pass in the House if it garners enough bipartisan support.

The Senate voted 70–29 on Tuesday morning to pass the supplemental funding bill. Democrat Sens. Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Peter Welch (Vt.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) joined 26 Senate Republicans in opposition to the foreign aid bill, while 22 Republicans joined the majority of Senate Democrats and Independents who voted in favor of the bill.

The Senate vote came less than a week after the collapse of a $118 billion version of the supplemental spending deal that included some provisions for U.S. border and immigration policy. Many Republicans said those border and immigration provisions would have done little to mitigate the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States.

“The Senate did the right thing last week by rejecting the Ukraine-Taiwan-Gaza-Israel-Immigration legislation due to its insufficient border provisions, and it should have gone back to the drawing board to amend the current bill to include real border security provisions that would actually help end the ongoing catastrophe,” Mr. Johnson wrote in a Monday evening statement, hours before the Senate vote. “Instead, the Senate’s foreign aid bill is silent on the most pressing issue facing our country.”

Along with unmet border security demands, House Republicans may object to the supplemental spending bill over its continued military aid to Ukraine. Republicans have increasingly shown apprehension toward open-ended U.S. support for Ukraine in its ongoing war with Russia.

Discharge Petition Could Bypass Speaker’s Opposition

One option to bring the spending supplemental to a House floor vote is a discharge petition. If a majority of House members sign the petition, the chamber will be able to then vote on the supplemental spending bill over the speaker’s objections.

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Following a vote to remove New York Republican George Santos, and resignations by three other House Republicans, Republicans currently hold a 219–212 majority. If all House Democrats were to support a discharge petition, then it would take just four House Republicans supporting a discharge petition to bring a House vote on the spending supplemental, and the bill could pass by a similar margin.

In an interview with CNN on Monday night, House Speaker emeritus Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) “has not ruled out using a discharge petition” to force a House vote on the foreign aid bill.
In September, the House voted to pass an appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Defense, after stripping $300 million in Ukraine-related funding from the bill. The House then voted 311–117 to approve that $300 million in Ukraine-related aid, with 101 House Republicans joining 210 House Democrats in favor of the Ukraine funding.

The $95.3 billion supplemental spending bill currently under consideration includes about $60 billion in new Ukraine-related spending; $14 billion for military assistance to Israel and U.S. security operations in the Middle East; $9.2 billion for humanitarian assistance programs in Gaza, the West Bank, and Ukraine; and about $8 billion to bolster security partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region, including arms for Taiwan and funding for new submarines for Australia.

“House Democrats are prepared to vote on the comprehensive and overwhelmingly bipartisan national security legislation advanced by the Senate,” Mr. Jeffries wrote in a post on the X social media platform on Tuesday. “We cannot allow Pro-Putin MAGA extremists to undermine America’s national security interests any further.”

Israel Aid Draws Progressive Pushback

While large portions of Republicans may oppose the $95.3 billion supplemental over its lack of strict border security provisions, its continued support for Ukraine, or it’s contribution to the U.S. national debt, some progressive lawmakers have expressed apprehension toward portions of the bill that provide military assistance to Israel.

Mr. Sanders, Mr. Welch, and Mr. Merkley all raised concerns about Israel’s ongoing military campaign in the Gaza Strip, as they moved in opposition to the supplemental spending bill.

“On the one hand, I strongly support aid to Ukraine. We need to sustain the supply of ammunition and weapons the Ukrainians need to stop the Russians. We must find a way to get this done,” Mr. Merkley said on Monday. “On the other hand, I strongly oppose sending more offensive military aid to Israel at a time when they are using American weapons in what President Biden has called an ‘indiscriminate’ campaign of bombing.”

It remains to be seen how progressive opposition to U.S. military aid for Israel will factor into a House debate over the larger $95.3 billion supplemental spending bill.

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