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Johnson Outlines Strategy for Ukraine Aid, House Action Possible Within Weeks

PoliticsJohnson Outlines Strategy for Ukraine Aid, House Action Possible Within Weeks
House Speaker Mike Johnson is laying out potential conditions for extending a new round of American military assistance to Ukraine, signaling a shift in Republican strategy on a package that has faced opposition within the party.

Johnson’s terms may include linking aid for Kyiv to measures that would force President Biden to reverse a moratorium on new permits for liquefied natural gas export facilities, a move seen as a win against the administration’s climate agenda. This would also benefit Johnson’s home state of Louisiana, unblocking a proposed export terminal.

“We’ll be moving a product, but it’s going to have some important innovations,” Johnson said on Fox News, indicating that the aid package for Ukraine, stalled amid Republican resistance, could soon clear Congress.

The aid package enjoys broad support among Democrats and mainstream Republicans, but hard-right opposition within the GOP has hindered its progress in the House. However, pressure from the Biden administration and NATO allies, along with the Senate’s passage of a $95 billion aid package for Ukraine and Israel, has prompted Johnson to seek a way forward that minimizes political backlash within his party.

Johnson discussed structuring the aid, considering ideas such as the REPO Act, which would use seized assets of Russian oligarchs to fund aid to Ukraine. While previously skeptical, the Biden administration now supports this approach amid decreased financial support for Ukraine.

Johnson also floated the idea of providing some aid as a loan, a concept even endorsed by former President Trump. Additionally, he suggested tying aid to lifting the administration’s moratorium on liquefied natural gas exports, arguing it would weaken Russia’s war effort by unfunding President Putin.

These proposals aim to convince skeptical Republicans that the aid package’s cost would be offset. Johnson has also considered advancing fresh sanctions against Russia.

Reversing the liquefied natural gas moratorium could be a potent political incentive for Republicans, increasing pressure on the White House to abandon a policy they oppose. The administration paused new export permits after environmental protests, but Johnson argues it’s crucial for national security and weakening Russia.

Johnson’s search for a politically viable option puts him between opposing forces within his party. The hard-right flank, led by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, opposes aid for Ukraine, while NATO allies and mainstream Republicans warn against inaction.

Greene filed a resolution calling for Johnson’s removal, but he views it as a distraction and plans to address her concerns.

Meanwhile, Johnson faces pressure from global leaders, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who stressed the urgency of aid to Ukraine and cutting off Russia’s funding sources.

Johnson’s willingness to lay out conditions for aid to Ukraine marks a shift in GOP strategy, reflecting efforts to balance political considerations within the party while addressing urgent geopolitical concerns.

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