Here’s How Johnson’s Jigsaw Puzzle of a Foreign Aid Plan Would Work

The House is set to vote this weekend on a foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan that has been stalled for months.

Similar legislation passed the Senate in February with bipartisan support, but, in order to steer around opposition from members of his own party, Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, is using a convoluted plan: It breaks that package down into three pieces, adds a fourth bill to sweeten the deal and then melds them back together again.

The strategy is designed to capitalize on the distinct bases of political support for the various pieces of the foreign aid package, worth $95.3 billion, without allowing opposition to any one element defeat the whole thing. Mr. Johnson regards it as a necessity given his vanishingly slim majority and the large number of Republicans who staunchly oppose sending aid to Ukraine.

He will need to rely on support from Democrats not only to win passage of the funding for Kyiv, but also to prevail on a procedural vote needed to bring the package to the floor. On Thursday, Mr. Johnson was working to get that procedural measure through the House Rules Committee, where three Republicans have said they will block it, meaning that Democratic support would be needed just to get it out of committee.

Here’s how Mr. Johnson’s plan would work:

An all-or-nothing procedural measure is the first vote

The first vote, and most crucial, on the package will happen before the aid ever comes to the floor. It will be on a measure known as a rule that is usually a routine procedural step, almost always taken along party lines, laying out how the debate and voting will go. But in this case, Mr. Johnson will need Democrats to vote for it because right-wing Republicans are vehemently opposed.

The rule is expected to allow for debate and separate votes on each of the four pieces of the package and then, should all of them pass, wrap them together into one bill. That means that the House would never actually hold an up-or-down vote on the entire aid package.

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