Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) says he’s gotten a commitment from House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to hold a vote on supplemental assistance to Ukraine.

Ukraine has been a recurring issue during the 118th Congress, with many divisions breaking down along party lines. Several Republicans have called for limiting, auditing, or outright refusing additional aid to the Eastern European nation, while Democrats have largely been supportive of Ukraine.

These party-line divisions have stalled progress on aid for both Ukraine in both chambers of Congress.

But if Mr. Bacon is right, Mr. Johnson seems on track to make another foray into funding Ukraine—even as the threat of a removal from the speakership hangs over him.

Speaking on “Meet the Press” during a March 31 appearance on the Sunday show, Mr. Bacon reported that Mr. Johnson “is committed to making [Ukraine] the first, the top priority” when lawmakers return to Washington.

That return won’t come until later in April, as lawmakers are currently in their districts for the Easter recess.

But when Congress returns, Mr. Bacon said, “I have a commitment for the speaker and the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee that we’re going to put this on the floor and get a vote.”

Mr. Bacon indicated that this funding will likely take the form of a loan, at least in part.

That would accord with an earlier proposal by former President Donald Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee.


Many Republicans responded favorably to this proposal, and Mr. Bacon said he expects at least portions of the legislation to take that form.

“I think there’ll be segments to this funding that will be a loan, it won’t be the whole thing,” Mr. Bacon said.

Citing the failures of previous efforts to provide funding on Ukraine, Mr. Bacon said that this bill should be crafted in a way that can appease both chambers and both parties.

“I want to make sure that we have support in the Senate,” Mr. Bacon said. “I don’t want to do a ping pong, where we send it back over the Senate, and they don’t act. So this has got to be a bicameral bipartisan solution.”

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) also expressed confidence during a March 31 appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” that there would be a vote on a new Ukraine funding package.

“I believe there will be a vote when we get back from the Easter recess,” he said.

“Certainly, this is critically important for our allies,” Mr. Lawler opined. “We are the leader of the free world and we can not shirk on our responsibility to uphold and defend democracies across the globe.”

Mr. Lawler has backed a discharge petition on a Ukraine aid bill, a parliamentary maneuver that would force a vote on the legislation without the backing of Mr. Johnson.

Mr. Lawler demurred when pressed to explain his reasons for believing there would be such a vote, merely reiterating, “I am confident that [Johnson] is going to bring a bill to the floor and that we will have a vote. He understands the responsibility that we have.”

Motion to Vacate

Hanging over all of this is the now ever-present threat of Mr. Johnson losing the speakership.
Following the passage of a $1.2 trillion funding bill, which was rammed through Congress before the break, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) introduced a motion to vacate the speakership against Mr. Johnson.

She declined to make the measure privileged, which would have forced a vote. Instead, she’s said that the motion is a “pink slip” and a warning to Mr. Johnson—but has not ruled out forcing a vote later on.

However, Ms. Greene is an outspoken critic of funding Ukraine, and any move by Mr. Johnson to bring a vote on such legislation could be met with a forced vote on the motion to vacate.

This was the same maneuver used by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) against then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in October, which ended in Mr. McCarthy’s ouster.

However, many lawmakers who helped oust Mr. McCarthy have expressed skepticism of doing the same to Mr. Johnson, saying it could end in Democrats claiming the speaker’s gavel.
Mr. Lawler addressed the threat, calling it “idiotic” and saying it wouldn’t help advance Ms. Greene’s agenda.

There have also been some indications that Democrats could help save Mr. Johnson’s job.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) spoke about the issue during his own appearance on “Meet the Press” the same day.

He emphasized that he’s behind Democratic leadership “100 percent,” but said he would be willing to back Mr. Johnson if advised to do so by House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).

Thus, it’s unclear whether Ms. Greene’s gambit would even work.

However, it’s likely that the threat posed by Ms. Greene’s measure will continue to hang over Congress as they return to Capitol Hill later in April.

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