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Johnson sets up Ukraine showdown vote

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The U.S. House is expected to vote on funding for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan this weekend, a controversial climax to months of battling in both chambers.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., has arranged the vote for this weekend, likely on Saturday, despite calls from many in his own party to abandon funding for Ukraine, which is set to receive about $60 billion in foreign aid in its war against Russia’s invasion if the measure passes this weekend.

Johnson will almost certainly need Democrat votes to pass the spending this weekend, which he could obtain, but possibly at the expense of his job.

The Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid package earlier this year with some Republican support, though many Republicans have said they will not support funding of this kind without serious border protections. Republicans and Democrats, though, have not been able to come to an agreement on provisions to address the border crisis.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, has been among the outspoken Republicans calling for stronger border provisions.

“To the wealthy Americans all excited about funding Ukraine & war – in the past we increased taxes on the wealthy to pay for such things…,” Roy wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “I look forward to your patriotic advocacy to pay more taxes to fund war.”

The spending plan up for a vote includes about $8 billion for the Taiwan region and $26.4 billion for Israel, which launched an attack on Iran late Thursday, the latest in ongoing exchanges and escalations between the two Middle East powers.

Ratcheting tensions between Israel and Iran is largely what pushed the vote for more funding up to this weekend.

Meanwhile, Johnson faces growing calls for his removal from the Speakership, a now-volatile position.

Under existing rules, just one member of of the House can file a motion to vacate the speakership. Earlier this week, Johnson expressed his disapproval of that rule but said he won’t change it, at least for now.

“Since the beginning of the 118th Congress, the House rule allowing a Motion to Vacate from a single member has harmed this office and our House majority,” he wrote on X. “Recently, many members have encouraged me to endorse a new rule to raise this threshold. While I understand the importance of that idea, any rule change requires a majority of the full House, which we do not have.”

In the battle over Ukraine funding, Roy and others have also pointed to the increasing national debt, which is barreling toward $35 trillion.

As The Center Square previously reported, the International Monetary Fund warned the U.S. this week about that debt, federal spending, and the inflation that goes with it. Earlier this year, in February, the U.S Government Accountability Office released a report echoing those concerns.

Despite concerns about the debt, Republicans have largely rallied around the border crisis, insisting that addressing the problems at the southern border come before funding for Ukraine.

“We are here to deliver wins for the American people,” Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., wrote on X. “We can’t talk about funding Ukraine while we do nothing about the border.”