Congressman Massie Joins Move To Oust Speaker Johnson Over Foreign Aid Proposal

‘I told him to resign,’ Mr. Massie tells reporters.

AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Congressman Thomas Massie speaks at the Capitol. AP/J. Scott Applewhite

The move to oust Speaker Johnson will gain new steam now that Congressman Thomas Massie has signed on to the resolution. The Kentucky lawmaker told Mr. Johnson in a private meeting Tuesday that he had joined Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, and even demanded his resignation. 

“I told him to resign,” Mr. Massie said of the speaker after leaving that meeting. “We need a speaker who won’t do everything Chuck Schumer tells him to do.

“There’s only one person right now who could stop us from going into what happened last fall, and that’s Mike Johnson,” Mr. Massie added. Ms. Greene filed a motion to vacate the speaker in March, but has not yet called it up for a vote. 

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday morning, Mr. Johnson said, “I am not resigning, and … it is absurd that someone would bring a vacate motion.”

Mr. Massie’s new threat comes just hours after the speaker released a proposal for foreign aid, which the White House, Democrats, and many Republicans have been demanding for months. The package includes nearly $50 billion in military and economic support for Ukraine, more than $14 billion for Israel, and nearly $10 billion for military investments in the Indo-Pacific. 

“The world is on fire and history will judge us by our actions. ‘Were you Chamberlain or were you Chuchill?’” the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Mike McCaul, asked rhetorically Tuesday morning. “Kharkiv is on the verge of falling. That’s two million people.”

The speaker has been trying to navigate both the politics within his own conference and pressure from the White House, Senate Republicans, and international partners. 

President Biden has said he will veto any bill that does not include all three aid components. Senator McConnell has consistently demanded that Mr. Johnson take up the Senate-passed foreign aid bill. The United Kingdom’s foreign secretary, David Cameron, wrote an opinion piece in the Hill asking congressional Republicans to bring a Ukraine aid bill up for a vote. 

Mr. Johnson’s bill includes a number of pieces of legislation that the Senate has so far refused to act on. Mr. McCaul has included a bill that would allow America and its partners to seize more than $200 billion worth of frozen Russian assets held at a Belgian securities exchange. Congressman Mike Gallagher’s legislation to force a divestment from TikTok is also included in the package, an effort that has so far stalled in the Senate. 

The speaker has chosen an unusual procedural method in order to move his package forward. He plans to have the House Rules Committee draft a rule that allows members to vote on all individual components of the bill, meaning Republicans can vote against Ukraine aid while supporting aid for Israel and other investments. On the flip side, many Democrats are likely to vote against the Israel aid package because it does not include conditions on how the munitions are used by the Israeli military. 

Democrats may come to the speaker’s aid if he follows through on his promise to put this foreign aid package on the floor. “My position hasn’t changed. Massie wants the world to burn, and I won’t stand by and watch. I have a bucket of water,” says Congressman Jared Moskowitz, a Florida Democrat.

The New York Sun

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