War: An Opportunity for Spending?

Illustration insert by despardes.com

Liz Wolfe at Reason: Republicans confirmed yesterday that House Speaker Mike Johnson (R–La.) plans to attempt to pass four separate bills to provide funding to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan and to address other national security priorities, which include banning TikTok in the U.S. (or forcing divestiture) and selling off seized Russian oligarch assets.

“It’s far from certain that Johnson would have the votes to bring the bills to the floor, given the procedural hurdles of Republicans’ narrow majority that have vexed the speaker for months,” reports Politico. “Johnson would need near-unanimous support from his own conference to bring the whole package of bills up for passage, a procedure known as a rules vote, plus prior approval from a Rules Committee stacked with conservatives who may resist based on Ukraine aid.”

The timing for the Israel funding seems directly linked to Iran’s attack this past weekend, which allies—including U.S. forces—helped swat away, minimizing the damage. And Ukrainian President Volydmyr Zelenskyy says his country will lose the war against the Russians unless Americans come to their aid—and soon. (Meanwhile, Zelenskyy has been told by Biden administration officials that he must stop attacking Russian oil refineries, as this will invite worse retaliation, not to mention higher prices across the globe.)

But Johnson seems to have forgotten that just weeks ago, securing the southern border was a necessary prerequisite for shoring up support for foreign aid; House Republicans have not changed their tunes, so it’s not clear why this time would be different.

“I think the Senate should have to take a vote on our border security legislation before we are just giving a blank check,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R–Fla.).

On one hand, it’s a good thing the right-wing flank of the House is interested in pumping the brakes on spending; on the other, it’s a shame it’s not coming from a place of actual principle. What the House, under Johnson, can actually pass remains to be seen.

More here.