New House Speaker says Congress won’t “abandon” Ukraine after Biden meeting

October 27, 2023

Following a meeting with President Biden and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), newly-elected House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said Congress was “not going to abandon” Ukraine—though it will aid Israel first.

Biden met with the two House leaders on Thursday to discuss his request for $106 billion in new spending to aid Israel and Ukraine, and to beef up enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border.

But Johnson, a staunch conservative who was House Republicans’ fourth and finally successful attempt to elect a new Speaker more than three weeks after the ousting of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the leadership position, said House Republicans would first bring a separate bill to provide $14.5 billion in aid to Israel, which is fighting a war against the terrorist organization Hamas.

He added that his caucus needs more information about the Biden Administration’s Ukraine strategy.

“We can’t allow [Russian President] Vladimir Putin to prevail in Ukraine because I don’t believe it would stop there,” Johnson said on Fox News. He added, however, “We must stand with our important ally in the Middle East and that’s Israel.”

According to the White House, Biden met with Johnson and Jeffries before the House leaders joined a classified briefing with other Congressional lawmakers on the requested assistance package.

The briefing was the first time the new Speaker received an intimate explanation from the Biden Administration about its case for continuing to aid Ukraine.

Though Johnson came out forcefully in support of Ukraine when Russia first invaded its sovereign neighbor in February 2022, he has more recently opposed additional aid to Ukraine, voting against bills in May 2022 and again last month to provide more funding to the cause.

“American taxpayers have sent over $100 billion in aid to Ukraine in the last year,” Mr. Johnson wrote on social media in February. “They deserve to know if the Ukrainian government is being entirely forthcoming and transparent about the use of this massive sum of taxpayer resources.”

PHOTO: Speaker Mike Johnson acceptance speech, Oct 25

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