The US House of Representatives should consider new military aid to Ukraine and Israel as separate measures. This was stated on Thursday by the newly appointed Speaker of the House Mike Johnson.
“Our consensus among House Republicans is we need to bifurcate those issues,” Johnson told Fox News.
He said he had relayed the message to White House officials after meeting with Joe Biden earlier in the day. The US presidential administration asked Congress to approve $106 billion to support Ukraine, Israel and for other foreign aid, hoping the package deal will help to approve the full amount.
However, growing skepticism among House Republicans over Ukraine was one of the most contentious issues in the party’s three-week battle over who would lead the chamber, which ended with Johnson’s election on Wednesday. Johnson said the U.S. would not abandon Ukraine and that Russian victory in Ukraine would encourage not only Moscow but also China as for Taiwan.
“We cannot allow Vladimir Putin to win in Ukraine because I don’t believe he will stop there,” Johnson claimed. But he added that helping Ukraine would require more accountability for the money already spent. “Israel is a separate matter. But there’s a thing that sets House Republicans apart from the other team. We’re going to find payouts in the budget. We’re not just printing money to send overseas. We’re going to fund cuts in other sectors to get it done,” the Speaker said.
He said Republicans in the House will offer a $14.5 billion aid package to Israel, slightly more than Biden’s administration has asked for.
The White House budget request to Congress calls for about $61.4 billion for Ukraine, of which $46.1 billion is defense spending and $11.8 billion is direct budget support. After his election, Mike Johnson said he supported providing aid to Ukraine, but “with conditions”.