April 17, 2024

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Moderate Democrats say he will protect Speaker Johnson on aid and government funding for Ukraine

Moderate Democrats say he will protect Speaker Johnson on aid and government funding for Ukraine

Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) said he will protect House Speaker Mike Johnson's (R-Los Angeles) gavel as long as he supports legislation to provide more aid to Ukraine and ensures the government stays open.

Golden promised to avoid the evacuation proposal if Johnson moves to bring the revised $66.32 billion foreign aid package — which includes border provisions — to the House floor for a vote.

“Putting out this bill or something like that that addresses borders and Ukraine and Israel and that could pass the Senate and become law because that is very important, keeping our government open and funded,” Golden said Friday during a Zoom call. It was organized by the organization “No Labels” and was attended by hundreds of their supporters.

He added: “I will vote to protect House Speaker Mike Johnson.”

The legislation, called the Defend the Border and Defend Democracies Act, was introduced last week, after a bipartisan border bill collapsed in the Senate and Johnson refused to put forward a separate bill to help Ukraine vote.

The House bill includes $47 billion for Ukraine, $10 billion for Israel, $5 billion for the Indo-Pacific region, and $2 billion to support US Central Command operations. It would also bring in former President Trump's “Remain in Mexico” immigration policy for one year and not include humanitarian aid for Gaza.

The bill was negotiated by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), who also spoke on Friday's call.

Golden and Fitzpatrick urged their colleagues to support the revised package in a “Dear Colleague” letter sent Sunday.

After the call, Golden's office reiterated its pledge to protect Johnson if he comes close to passing the bill and is able to keep the government funded.

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“If Speaker Johnson takes action in the House to secure the border, provide urgently needed aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, and pass a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown — and does so in a way that can pass the U.S. Senate — he will move forward,” said Mario Moretto, director of communications for Golden’s office. In a statement: “Congressman Golden will then oppose the eviction motion.”

His pledge comes after Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D.N.J.) circulated a resolution Tuesday that would make it harder for the House GOP to oust Johnson from his leadership position. But this decision depends on foreign aid receiving a vote in the House of Representatives.

In early February, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) — the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee — predicted that members of his party would step in and protect the Speaker if an evacuation motion over aid to Ukraine was launched. .

Concern over the potential proposal comes just over four months since former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was ousted in a historic vote. His removal from leadership came after the House avoided a shutdown in 2023 by putting a temporary measure on the floor supported by Democrats — a move that angered hard-line conservatives.

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