WH fumes at Speaker Johnson as House breaks for recess without passing Ukraine aid

The White House took a crack at Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) on Thursday as the House broke for recess without bringing the recently passed Senate foreign aid bill to the floor for a vote — the legislation earmarks $60 billion for the continuation of the Ukraine-Russian war.

Not that the GOP speaker wasn’t clear about where the House stood.

“House Republicans were crystal clear from the very beginning of discussions that any so-called national security supplemental legislation must recognize that national security begins at our own border,” Johnson said in a statement Monday night.

“The Senate did the right thing last week by rejecting the Ukraine-Taiwan-Gaza-Israel-Immigration legislation due to its insufficient border provisions, and it should have gone back to the drawing board to amend the current bill to include real border security provisions that would actually help end the ongoing catastrophe. Instead, the Senate’s foreign aid bill is silent on the most pressing issue facing our country,” he added. “The mandate of national security supplemental legislation was to secure America’s own border before sending additional foreign aid around the world. It is what the American people demand and deserve. Now, in the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters. America deserves better than the Senate’s status quo.”

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates accused Johnson of “cutting and running” to go on recess “instead of ending the harm he’s doing to our national security,” according to The Hill.

It’s not clear how leaving our southern border wide open to millions of foreign nationals advances national security.

“Every day that Speaker Johnson causes our national security to deteriorate, America loses. Every day that he puts off a clean vote, congressional Republicans’ standing with the American people plunges,” Bates said. “Running away for an early vacation only worsens both problems.”

Shaping the argument to his party’s liking, despite a December poll showing nearly half of voters think America is spending too much on Ukraine, Bates exploited the outcome of Tuesday’s special election in New York.

“The American people are outraged at the damage Speaker Johnson is causing to America’s national security in the name of politics, as voters in New York proved Tuesday,” he said. “But instead of ending his politicization of the country’s safety, Speaker Johnson is cutting and running, sending the House on an early, undeserved vacation as he continues to strengthen Russia’s murderous war effort and the Iranian regime at the expense of American national security, U.S. manufacturing jobs, and our closest alliances.”

The great irony here is that the Biden administration has the audacity to accuse Republicans of strengthening the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism in Iran when they have been playing footsies with the mullahs all along.

Equally ironic is that while the White House attacked Johnson, the administration outright rejected a request from the speaker for a one-on-one meeting with President Biden to work on improving the funding bill.

“What is there to negotiate, truly?” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told ABC News.

Johnson’s office dismissed the latest barbs from Team Biden.

“This criticism is unserious. The president — who has spent over a calendar year on vacation since taking office — continues to refuse to even meet with the Speaker,” spokesperson Taylor Haulsee said in a statement.

Tom Tillison

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