Apr 17, 2024 - Politics & Policy

House Democrats to huddle on fate of foreign aid bills

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, wearing a blue suit, stands at a podium in front of an American flag.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Photo: ALLISON BAILEY/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images.

House Democrats will meet on Thursday morning to discuss House Speaker Mike Johnson's (R-La.) foreign aid bills, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: House Republican hardliners have said they won't cooperate on key procedural votes, placing the power to save the package in Democrats' hands.

  • The Republican hardliners include three members of the House Rules Committee – enough to block the legislation from coming to the floor.
  • Several others have said they would vote against the "rule," a procedural mechanism to set up debate and final votes on bills that typically pass along party lines.

What we're hearing: Democrats will meet at the Capitol on Thursday at 9:00 a.m., according to a notice obtained by Axios.

  • The topic of the meeting, according to the invite, is: "National Security Legislation."
  • Several Democratic lawmakers have told Axios they expect their party to ultimately bail out the rule, should it make it to the floor.
  • Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-N.C.) said he is "still looking at the details" but would "vote for the rule if there's no poison pill here."
  • Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), asked if he believes Democrats will vote to save the rule, told Axios: "Some, for sure."

Yes, but: Jeffries, who has said he wants to sound out his members before making a decision, will have the final word.

  • That goes doubly for the House Rules Committee, whose Democratic members take their cues from Jeffries.
  • "I think we'll all look to Hakeem for leadership here," Nickel said.

The other side: While typically only the most rebellious right-wing hardliners have been willing to break with GOP leadership on rule votes, there is immense pressure on more mainstream conservatives to do so as well.

  • Heritage Action, the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, is warning House Republicans that voting for the rule will count against them in the group's scorecard.
  • Former Trump aide Stephen Miller and Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) also urged a vote against the rule in speeches to the conservative Republican Study Committee lunch on Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Go deeper: Read: House GOP releases long-awaited foreign aid bills

Go deeper