Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
April 16, 2024

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) has unveiled an outline of his plan to move foreign aid through the House, pitching four separate bills to address aid for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other national security priorities that he says will all get votes before the end of the week.  The strategy sparked an immediate predictable backlash from most conservative lawmakers who have demanded that any additional Ukraine aid be accompanied by tougher security on the U.S.-Mexico border — proposals excluded from Johnson’s legislative blueprint — raising questions about the viability of the Speaker’s plans without having significant support from Democrats.

The plan is first to move a procedural rule governing all four bills — Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan each get their own, with the fourth focusing on national security priorities. Each proposal would then be voted on separately, in contrast to the Senate’s $95 billion foreign aid legislation that combined the various elements into a single package. The fourth national security-related bill will include a proposal to help pay for Ukraine aid by seizing Russian assets; a plan to provide some of the aid in the form of loans; and new sanctions on Iran in the wake of Tehran’s weekend strikes on Israel.  It likely would also include a TikTok ban and convertible loans for humanitarian relief.  Republican leadership would adhere to a House rule allowing lawmakers 72 hours to examine the bills before they’re asked to vote on them — a timeline that would keep the House in Washington at least until Friday, which is a day later than is scheduled.  Still, the plan remains very much in flux, and there are plenty of questions swirling around the legislation, including how far the House proposals will stray from the Senate’s top-line spending numbers and whether the four bills would be sent to the upper chamber separately, or recombined and delivered as a single package.

For today, the Senate convened at 10:00 A.M. and is expected to vote on confirmation of the nomination of Ramona Villagomez Manglona to be Judge for the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands for a term of ten years

At 2:00 P.M., the Senate Sergeant at Arms is expected to present the managers on the part of the House of Representatives to conduct proceedings on behalf of the House concerning the impeachment of Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security.  The managers will read the text of H.Res.995, on appointment of the House Managers, and the text of H.Res.863, the Articles of Impeachment, and then request leave to withdraw.  The transfer of the articles will officially force the Senate to take up the matter of impeachment against Mayorkas, which has been pending Since the House approved the punishment in a 214-213 vote in February. Senators are expected to be sworn in as jurors Wednesday, with Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray (D-Washington) presiding over the chamber.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), however, is still expected to very quickly dismiss the charges, moving to table or dismiss the articles.

The House convened at 10:00 A.M. and will take up H.R. 6323 – Iran Counterterrorism Act as well as seven bills from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.