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McCaul applauds Speaker Johnson's turnaround after vote on foreign aid

McCaul applauds Speaker Johnson's turnaround after vote on foreign aid

Aaron Schwartz/CNP/CIPA

Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul speaks at a news conference in Washington on April 16, 2024.



CNN

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul praised the Speaker Mike Johnson Sunday to He brought foreign aid legislation to his chamberDescribing the move as a “profile in courage.”

“I'm very proud of the speaker, Mike Johnson,” the Texas Republican, who has been a strong supporter of passing additional foreign aid, said on ABC's “This Week.” He's gone through a transformation. Ultimately, the image of courage is to put the nation above yourself, and that's what he did. “At the end of the day, I will be on the right side of history, regardless of my job,” he said.

Aid to Israel, Ukraine and the Indo-Pacific region survived months of gridlock in Congress on Saturday when the House passed a $95 billion foreign aid package in four separate bills, which will be bundled into one amendment and sent to the Senate for a vote on Tuesday. . The vote to go ahead with key aid legislation came as bipartisan pressure mounted on Johnson to pass support to his allies abroad, while his far-right allies put forward a bid to strip him of his gavel.

A small group of hard-line Republicans, led by controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, has rallied behind an effort to oust Johnson from House leadership, criticizing the Louisiana Republican for relying on Democrats to pass foreign aid, among other priorities. McCaul, who was with Johnson the night before the foreign aid legislation was passed, He told CNN That the House leader — a devout Christian — prayed as he wrestled with the political consequences of doing “the right thing” by bringing the package to the House floor.

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“We were running out of time — Ukraine is poised to fall,” McCaul said Sunday. “He's become a guy who went from a Louisiana borough to president of the United States to someone who has to look at the whole world and has to bear the burden of that and make the right decision.”

McCaul emphasized that the majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives voted against additional aid to Ukraine because the conference “sold on the idea that there is an either-or choice” between supporting the southern border of the United States and Ukraine.

“The eyes of the world are watching, our enemies are watching, and history is watching – and this is what I keep telling my colleagues: Do you want to be Chamberlain or Churchill?“He asked, an analogy McCaul has used repeatedly in discussions about continuing to provide assistance to Ukraine in its war against Russia.

Even with Johnson's victorious passage of these aid bills, the House of Representatives could be plunged into chaos again if his party's far-right wing manages to oust him as Speaker.

Asked if he thought Johnson's job was in jeopardy after the successful vote, McColl said “stock in Mike Johnson went up a lot” and that the Speaker had “earned a lot of respect” from both sides of the aisle.

Republican Rep. Tony Gonzalez of Texas, who represents a district along the southern border, on Sunday also praised Johnson's role in passing the legislation.

“We're at a point where we're just trying to govern, and that's what Mike Johnson did, govern in an honorable way,” Gonzalez told CNN's “State of the Union.”

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Gonzalez – who voted on Saturday to pass aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan – expressed confidence that Johnson would survive the threats to him as president, saying: “The House of Representatives is a rough, noisy place, but Mike Johnson will be OK.”

Former President Donald Trump did it He expressed strong opposition To Ukraine in the past, arguing that the United States should not give foreign aid unless it was a loan, he indicated that he would do so. Encouraging Russian aggression Against any NATO member state that does not pay enough. But Trump has not commented publicly on the package passed by the House on Saturday that he had previously expressed Support Johnson's presidency.

“What (Trump) wants is to offer a lifeline to Ukraine, so that when he takes office… he can negotiate and save it,” McCaul said.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.