Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said he was “confident and optimistic” about Congress’ ability to secure additional funding for Israel and Ukraine – but he stopped short of committing to linking the two, saying funding for Ukraine must be accompanied by changes in border policy. .
His comments come as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) pledged to vote on additional funding for Israel, Ukraine and the Indo-Pacific region as early as next week.
“We have serious negotiations underway. I was actually on the plane before it landed, texting with Senate colleagues and other people who are working on the negotiations,” Johnson said at an event Monday in Florida when asked about the additional funding.
The President, however, has long said that funding for Israel and Ukraine should be separated – and has called on the Senate to pass a House-passed bill that ties aid to Israel to funding cuts for the IRS.
“Look, Israel is a top priority for the United States, and supporting our ally there is essential. It was one of the first things we did. … This issue is pending in the Senate and on Chuck Schumer’s desk. So we encourage him to achieve that,” Johnson said.
Schumer rejected the House-passed bill.
Johnson also expressed support for passing a funding measure for Ukraine that includes changes to U.S. border policy.
“Ukraine is another priority. Of course, we cannot allow Vladimir Putin to cross Europe. And we understand the need to help. What we said is that if we want to provide additional aid to Ukraine – which most members of Congress consider important – we must also work to change our own border policy,” said Johnson. “So there have been a lot of thoughtful negotiations going on around this. I think most of our colleagues in the Senate recognize that these two things must go hand in hand because we owe it to the American people.
Johnson said the rest of the details of a larger funding package are still evolving.
“As for the rest, there are other items in the supplemental package – I think that will all come together in the next few days,” Johnson said.
“We have a sense of urgency about this, and there are deadlines as well. So I’m confident and optimistic that we can achieve this,” Johnson said.
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