House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., laid out what is effectively the agenda for his first 100 days in his new role, which includes separate funding bills for Israel and Ukraine, individual appropriations bills, a temporary Continuing Resolution (CR) and an openness to the continuing effort to investigate and possibly impeach President Biden.
President Biden has proposed a $106 billion aid package for Ukraine and Israel that also includes humanitarian assistance as well as $13 billion in funding for U.S. border security.
There has been speculation as to how Johnson would handle that particular request, given that an additional federal spending bill has to be passed before Nov. 17 to avoid a government shutdown. Many Republicans have called for foreign aid to be voted on separately from regular government appropriations.
When asked specifically about foreign aid funding for Ukraine and Israel, Johnson revealed on Thursday evening in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he informed the White House that the “consensus among House Republicans is that we need to bifurcate those issues.”
Johnson said that the U.S. “can’t allow Vladimir Putin to prevail in Ukraine because I don’t believe it would stop there.”
“It would probably encourage and empower China to perhaps make a move on Taiwan. We have these concerns,” he said in the interview.
The Louisiana Republican also expressed doubts that any U.S. humanitarian assistance that Biden wants to provide would make its way to the Palestinian people. The Biden administration has requested about $100 million.
“They [Hamas] use the Palestinians as shields. They don’t even provide the people with clean drinking water. We’re supposed to believe they’re going to use U.S. aid for humanitarian purposes? Count me as a skeptic,” he said.
“We’ve got to be very careful about what we’re doing there. You do not want to further empower the terrorist groups. Our heart goes out to innocent Palestinian people, of course, as we do to anyone who’s in a terrible situation like that but we have to be very discerning in our policy and in our approach to this,” he added.
The 45-day Continuing Resolution (CR) that Congress previously passed to avoid a government shutdown expires on Nov. 17. Voting in the House was frozen for three weeks during the search for a House speaker after the removal of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy so the chamber lost time in the appropriations process. Conservatives have been calling for House GOP leadership to pass 12 separate single subject appropriations bills as opposed to one large federal spending bill and Johnson said he is speeding up the process.
The House has not yet passed all 12 of those bills, so Johnson has kept the door open to another temporary funding bill.
He was asked if he would have certain conditions on what is included in the temporary spending bill.
“I think we have to if indeed we do that,” he said. “We’re working through this with the ideas and trying to ensure that if another stopgap measure is required that we do it with certain conditions and I think there will be conditions the American people can live with and the consensus that we can build around here in the House.”
Johnson also expressed support for the ongoing House GOP’s impeachment inquiries into President Biden and his son, Hunter.
He said the documents and evidence the respective committees currently have seem to point to bribery.
“If, in fact, all the evidence leads to where we believe it will, that’s very likely impeachable offenses,” he said. “We’re going to follow the truth where it leads, we’re going to engage in due process, because, again, we’re the rule of law party.”
Johnson also said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has committed impeachable offenses in his handling of the southern border crisis.
“Mayorkas has been an abject failure in his position. I believe he has committed impeachable offenses and I’ve been on record saying that for a long, long time, in fact, he appeared in an oversight hearing in our House Judiciary committee, we have jurisdiction over his department, less than four months into office, I saw where this was headed,” he said.
“And I told him in a clip that went viral, Mr. Mayorkas, you need to get your resume prepared because I thought he was headed towards a dead end on this. Look, the investigations are going forward. Jamie Comer and the Oversight Committee are doing an exceptional job. Jim Jordan, who is Chairman of Judiciary has helped lead on that. We’ve gotten a lot of information on all these issues,” he added.