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White House: 'At first blush,' Johnson's proposal appears to cover desired aid for Israel, Ukraine

The White House on Tuesday said “at first blush” Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) proposal for a series of bills to provide aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan addresses the administration’s national security requests, but a spokesperson stressed the need for the House to move quickly.

John Kirby, a White House spokesperson on national security issues, told reporters aboard Air Force One that the administration was still waiting to see the details of Johnson’s proposal before passing judgment.

“The important thing is that our allies like Ukraine and Israel who are under the gun, literally under the gun, get the security assistance they need as soon as possible. So we want them to move this week,” Kirby said.

“It does appear at first blush that the Speaker’s proposal will in fact help us get aid to Ukraine, aid to Israel and needed resources to the Indo-Pacific for a wide range of contingencies there. At first blush it looks like that, we just want to get more details,” he added.

The White House had a day earlier said it would oppose a stand-alone bill to fund aid to Israel.

Kirby underscored the urgency of the situation for Ukraine as its forces struggle to fend off Russian forces, and for Israel in the aftermath of an Iranian drone and missile attack over the weekend.

President Biden spoke with Johnson late Monday about the proposal, White House officials said.

Johnson on Monday night rolled out his plan for providing national security aid during a closed-door meeting with the House GOP conference.

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 and passed with bipartisan support.

The fourth national security-related bill, according to Johnson, 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. 

The strategy sparked immediate backlash from some conservative lawmakers who have demanded that any additional Ukraine aid be accompanied by tougher security on the U.S.-Mexico border. Two House Republicans have publicly backed a motion to vacate against Johnson, potentially threatening his Speakership if he moves forward with the national security bills.

Source: The Hill

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