Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
February 15, 2024

As the House is set to adjourn for Presidents Day recess today, Republican Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) said Wednesday the House will not feel “rushed” to pass the $95.3 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other allies, signaling a further stall over sending military hardware and munitions that the country badly needs to fight Russia.  House Democrats have begun laying the groundwork to force a vote on the $95 billion foreign aid bill that passed in the Senate early Tuesday morning, despite fierce opposition from Speaker Johnson and his leadership team to the legislation.  The package (SUMMARY) would appropriate $60 billion to support Ukraine and would also send $14 billion in military assistance to Israel, $9 billion in humanitarian assistance to Gaza and elsewhere, and nearly $5 billion to defend Taiwan.  It would mark a significant victory if Democrats were successful.  They’re aiming to use a rare procedural move known as a discharge petition, which would require at least 218 signatures – including at least some Republicans – to bring the legislation up for a vote.  Legislation must sit in a committee for 30 legislative days, days when the House is in session, before a discharge petition may be submitted. That process can be sped along if lawmakers take a related bill that has been languishing in committee for some time and add the measure they want acted upon.  Once the petition has 218 signatures, a seven-day waiting period kicks in, and again, only legislative days when the House is in session, count.  After that, any signer of the petition can declare an intention to offer the measure, and the speaker must act within two legislative days to call it up. House leaders, in the meantime, could try to throw up procedural roadblocks.  If the effort were successful, a discharge petition would allow lawmakers to steer around Speaker Johnson and hard-right Republicans who have vowed to block action on a Ukraine aid bill.

For today, the House is wrapping up the week by completing work on H.R. 7176 – Unlocking our Domestic LNG Potential Act of 2024 and will also consider three bills under suspension of the Rules from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

House GOP leadership canceled votes for Friday, and the House will now return to Washington on February 28th after the President’s Day recess.  The Senate is scheduled to return on Monday, February 26th.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.