Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
April 17, 2024

Facing a very divided Republican party, pressure to act, and a threat to his young speakership, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) says he is close to releasing the text of his plan to send aid to U.S. allies, including Ukraine, despite sharp criticism from conservatives in his caucus.  Speaker Johnson informed GOP lawmakers in a text message this morning that he will “soonrelease the legislative text for three bills that would send assistance to Ukraine, Israel and allies in the Indo-Pacific. That legislation, he said, will include a loan structure for aid and enhanced strategy and accountability.  Later on Wednesday, Speaker Johnson said he plans to unveil text for a fourth bill that includes other national security priorities including a TikTok ban, a provision to help pay for aid by using seized Russian assets, sanctions and other measures to confront Russia, China and Iran.  Those four measures will move under one procedural rule that will allow for an amendment process and Speaker Johnson said he is eyeing a late Saturday evening vote on the final legislation.  In a twist from Speaker Johnson’s initial plan, the outline of which he unveiled Monday night, the Speaker said he will move a border security measure separate from the foreign aid bills — a decision that is meant to appease conservatives who were livid that the priority was initially excluded. That measure includes “core components” from H.R. 2, the border security bill House Republicans approved last year.

For today, following Leader remarks, the Senate resumed consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R.7888, to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.  At 1 P.M. the Senate will proceed to consideration of the articles of impeachment against Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security.  Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) will administer the oath to the President Pro Tempore, Senator Murray (D-Washington).  Senator Murray will administer the oath to all Senators in the Chamber in conformance with Article I, section 3, clause 6 of the Constitution, and the Senate’s impeachment rules. The Clerk will call the names in groups of 4, and Senators will present themselves at the desk to sign the oath book. Democrats could pass a motion to dismiss or table the articles on a simple majority vote as early as today.  Senate Republicans are seeking to reach a time agreement with Democrats that would allow floor debate and for GOP senators to have votes on procedural motions.  If a time agreement is not reached, it’s unclear clear how long the process will take as Republicans could attempt any number of procedural delays, although at some point the presiding officer could rule those efforts dilatory and cut them off to end the trial.

The House convened at noon for legislative business with first votes at 5:00 P.M.  The House is expected to take up pursuant to a Rule: H.R. 4639 – Fourth Amendment Is Not for Sale, H.R. 6046 – Standing Against Houthi Aggression Act, H.R. 4691 – Iran Sanctions Relief Review Act and H.R. 5947 – To provide for the rescission of certain waivers and licenses relating to Iran, and for other purposes.  The House is also expected to  complete consideration of H.R. 6323 – Iran Counterterrorism Act.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.