Feb 12, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Mike Johnson signals blockade of Senate national security bill

House Speaker Mike Johnson, wearing a blue suit and standing at a microphone, speaks to reporters in the Capitol.

House Speaker Mike Johnson. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Monday warned that the House is unlikely to take up the national security bill set to pass the Senate this week.

Why it matters: It's a massive blow to what some lawmakers view as their last shot at passing a comprehensive package this year that includes aid to Ukraine.

What he's saying: In a statement on Monday, Johnson criticized the lack of border security provisions in the bill, which is on track to pass the Senate Wednesday morning.

  • "The Senate's foreign aid bill is silent on the most pressing issue facing our country," he said.
  • Johnson warned that "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."

The backdrop: The legislation was drawn up after Senate Republicans largely rejected a package that included border security provisions.

  • The rejection was due in no small part to Johnson and House conservatives signaling the border piece was insufficient and would make it a non-starter in the House.
  • The new version of the Senate bill includes funding for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, Palestinian civilians and more – and has support from around 18 Senate Republicans.

What's next: House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) signaled in a statement last week that Democrats may attempt to force the bill to the floor through a discharge petition.

  • "House Democrats are prepared to use every available legislative tool to make sure we get comprehensive national security legislation over the finish line," he said.
  • The measure would need support from around half a dozen Republicans – and one centrist House Republican told Axios that while that is "always possible," it's "doubtful."
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