Everybody Tries To Circumvent House Republicans And Get Aid To Ukraine

This is your TPM evening briefing.
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is sitting in the House Chamber ahead of President Biden's State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress in Washington, D.C., on March 7, 2024. (Photo by Aaron Schwar... Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is sitting in the House Chamber ahead of President Biden's State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress in Washington, D.C., on March 7, 2024. (Photo by Aaron Schwartz/NurPhoto via Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

The White House and House Democrats both made moves Tuesday to get aid to Ukraine, a burning priority for Democrats that Republicans are blocking in the House. 

The White House announced at a Tuesday press conference that it would send an emergency package of $300 million worth of weapons and equipment to the besieged country. The Pentagon pulled together the money from various contracts that had come in under bid, per the administration.

It’s little more than a stopgap measure, as the Pentagon has said it needs $10 billion to replace the stockpile the U.S. has sent to Ukraine. 

It would have that and more in the package the Senate passed back in February with bipartisan support. But Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has ducked calls to bring the package up for a floor vote; at least one member of his conference has threatened to trigger a motion to vacate if he does. He’s hand-waved that he may turn back to the issue after Congress finishes the slog of funding the government. 

But Ukraine supporters, who still comprise a majority in both chambers, fear the country can’t wait that long. 

House Democrats Tuesday opened up a discharge petition for signatures to circumvent Johnson and force a vote on the Senate aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. The uncommon and usually unsuccessful maneuver is a way for members to bring legislation to a vote without the speaker doing so; it will require 218 signatures. Republicans currently control the House at 219 seats (a majority that’s getting slimmer all the time). Democrats will need Republican votes to both add to their 213 seats and make up for the defections from progressive Democrats who either oppose Israel aid altogether, or demand that more of it be conditional.

There’s a dueling discharge petition from Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) — a former FBI agent who was stationed in Kyiv — expected to go live later this week. He’s tweaking his package to try to increase its bipartisan appeal, throwing in some border red meat for Republicans (one-year “Remain in Mexico” and expulsion policies) and adding in new humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza, per Punchbowl News. 

Fitzpatrick’s discharge petition, unlike the House Democrats’, which would just bring the Senate bill to the House floor, would involve legislation bouncing back to the upper chamber for a vote.

“These are well-meaning members. But we disagree that that is the right solution,” Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), chair of the Democratic House caucus, said Tuesday at the House Democrats’ press conference. “Under any scenario, that bill, that discharge, would force a vote on something that still has to go to the U.S. Senate. And that could take weeks or months to deliver the critical aid that’s necessary.”

The Best Of TPM Today

Ron Klain Thinks The Biden ‘Alliance’ Is Strong Enough To Withstand Gaza And Trump

Experts Place New Secret Society Squarely In The  Christian Nationalist Revival

Aileen Cannon Continues To Make A Mess Of The MAL Case

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Inside A Secret Society Of Prominent Right-Wing Christian Men Prepping For A ‘National Divorce’ — Josh Kovensky

What We Are Reading

‘Young Indian Method’ Teaches TikTok Spammers How to Hire and Control ‘Third World Country Workers’ — 404 Media

Inspired by the Confederacy and Czarist Russia, “Ortho Bros” Are on the Rise — Texas Monthly

Trump’s Corruption-Policy Nexus Comes Into Focus — Off Message

Latest Where Things Stand
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: