CNN: House Democrats want Speaker Johnson to outline path on Ukraine aid before agreeing to save his job

CNN, MANU RAJU

House Democrats may save Mike Johnson’s speakership – but he first must outline a pathway to approving aid to Ukraine, multiple Democratic sources told CNN.

If Johnson were to announce he would take up the Senate’s $95 billion aid package, Democrats would vote in droves to keep him in the position, sources said.

Yet Johnson has already signaled an openness to a separate bipartisan plan emerging in the House, and he’d already told GOP lawmakers that he may schedule floor time on that plan when lawmakers return from their Easter recess.

But that bipartisan plan has generated little Democratic enthusiasm, in large part because of its new border security restrictions, including reinstating the so-called “Remain in Mexico” policy. Plus, Johnson has signaled a willingness to turn the Ukraine aid into a loan for the country, an idea floated by former President Donald Trump that has prompted Democratic skepticism.

If Johnson tries to move on the House plan, Democrats may opt to save him but in smaller numbers, one Democratic source said.

While the exact timing remains unclear, the first procedural vote to oust Johnson is expected to take the form of a “motion to table” – or kill – fellow Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s resolution to vacate the speakership. Democrats are weighing whether to kill the resolution on the first procedural vote, but say they need to hear the speaker publicly outline his intentions on Ukraine aid.

“If he does the responsible thing, which is allowing members of Congress to vote on a bill that will pass and that is in our national security interests, and subsequent to that a non-serious actor that doesn’t want to govern brings a motion to vacate, yes I would motion to table in that circumstance,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a Virginia Democrat, told CNN.

In a meeting Friday before Greene announced her intention to force a vote seeking Johnson’s ouster, the speaker already was telling Republicans he was ready to move on an aid package for Ukraine when they return. But it’s unclear what form that package will take.

“He said that’s going to come to the floor when we come back,” Rep. Greg Pence, an Indiana Republican, told CNN after meeting with Johnson on Friday morning. “And I think that’s good.”

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