Senate conservatives urge House GOP to sink Speaker’s Ukraine strategy

Senate conservatives urge House GOP to sink Speaker’s Ukraine strategy

Senate conservatives led by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) urged House Republicans to oppose what they called a “sham” procedural tactic devised by Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to break an emergency foreign aid package into four different pieces to give it a better chance of passing.

Senate conservatives warned it would result in the House passing an emergency foreign aid package “almost identical” to the $95 billion aid bill that the Senate passed in February, and which a majority of Republican senators opposed. The bill includes funding for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

“Members who vote for the rule to set up this sham process will be effectively supporting the Senate passed supplemental that a majority of the Senate Republican conference already rejected and signaling to leadership that it is fine to steamroll the priorities of rank-and-file members though this deceptive process,” the senators wrote in a letter sent to House GOP colleagues Thursday.

Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) signed the letter along with Lee.

On Friday morning, 55 House Republicans voted against the rule to set up the floor debate of the four-part emergency foreign aid package.

The rule passed anyway, however, because in an unusual move, House Democrats stepped in to save Johnson from losing the crucial vote. It wound up passing with large bipartisan majority, 316 to 94.

Lee and other Senate conservatives warned that the rule will allow the House to pass the four different elements of its foreign aid package separately and then assemble them into a single package and send to the Senate.

“The rule allows the people’s representatives to vote individually on bills for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel that are then combined into one legislative vehicle without having to take a vote on the final combined package,” the senators wrote. “This tactic was a favorite of Speaker Pelosi, who used it at least three times to push the Democrats’ most controversial policies.”

They said Johnson’s floor strategy would not require that border security provisions long demanded by many Republicans ride along with Ukraine funding.

“The watered-down border security provisions would be sent to the Senate in a separate legislative vehicle that will simply collect dust on [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer’s [D-N.Y.] desk and never be considered on the floor,” they wrote.

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