House Speaker Mike Johnson torpedoes foreign aid bill despite Biden's pleas

Washington DC- Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson on Tuesday blocked war aid for Ukraine and Israel, ignoring President Joe Biden's insistence that passing the bill was vital for standing up to "Russian dictator" Vladimir Putin.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson (r.) rejected President Joe Biden's pleas to pass a foreign aid funding bill.
Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson (r.) rejected President Joe Biden's pleas to pass a foreign aid funding bill.  © Collage: REUTERS

Johnson told reporters he has no intention even of allowing a vote on the bill that was passed in the Senate.

It includes $95 billion in funding, mostly for Ukraine, as well as for Israel's brutal war on Gaza, which faces accusations of genocide against Palestinians.

At the White House, Biden said that helping US allies – and particularly coming to the aid of Ukraine as it struggles to fend off a two-year Russian invasion – is a fundamental responsibility.

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"History is watching," said Biden, repeating the phrase five times in televised remarks. "Supporting this bill is standing up to Putin. Opposing it is playing into Putin's hands," the Democrat added.

But Johnson then said he could not address Ukraine's security without first having new anti-immigrant measures to block border crossing into the US.

"We really do owe it to the American people to get control of that border," he said.

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Donald Trump has been pushing Republicans to reject any bipartisan bills.
Donald Trump has been pushing Republicans to reject any bipartisan bills.  © REUTERS

Democrats in the Senate had conceded to even the most extreme Republican demands, crafting a joint bill which provided the foreign aid, while at the same time imposing the most draconian US border security measures in generations.

That bill was primed for approval in the Senate when Johnson announced it would be killed in the House.

This prompted the Senate to ditch that version and switch to Tuesday's new foreign-aid-only bill – which was once again rejected by Johnson, who followed the urging of the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

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One Republican senator, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, lashed out at his party Tuesday.

"I'm incredibly frustrated. I'm frustrated because I feel this is a fundamental dishonesty with the American people," he said.

Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS

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