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Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continued to urge the House to vote on foreign aid supplemental that already passed the upper chamber. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Senate GOP to Mike Johnson: Just Pass Foreign Aid Already

“We have dithered long enough,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley.

As the House tries a unique approach to pass foreign aid, Republican senators just want to see an aid bill — preferably one that can actually pass an upper chamber controlled by Democrats.

“I think at some point, we’ve got to finish this job — time’s a-wasting,” Minority Whip John Thune told NOTUS, warning against the House and Senate trading bills back and forth.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to push for the House to vote on the national security supplemental passed by the Senate months ago, despite Speaker Mike Johnson’s new plan for four individual bills that could be packaged together for the Senate’s consideration. In effect, it would recreate the $95 billion supplemental, although the specifics have not yet been announced.

Johnson’s plan is also expected to include measures on TikTok, border security and a loan for Ukraine aid — all potential poison pills for Senate Democrats.

Thune noted that packaging the bills together before they head to the Senate would help speed the process. “If they actually did four pieces and sent them individually, those are going to take forever to process in the Senate,” he said.

But until the bill text and the rule are announced, the upper chamber isn’t sure what to expect. Sen. John Cornyn questioned whether the package would still advance to the Senate if one of the four bills failed to pass.

“It’s unclear to me what the rule is going to be,” Cornyn said. “But I think the speaker is doing the best he can trying to deal with a challenging procedural.”

Senators from both parties are eager to move quickly after Iran’s retaliatory strike on Israel over the weekend.

“It’s very strange to me that, especially after what Iran did, why you just can’t lean in for Israel on that,” Sen. John Fetterman said regarding Democratic colleagues skeptical of Israel aid.

“I think there’s a real feeling in the United States Senate that we have dithered long enough,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley. “We’ve got to get it done.”

The House aid bills are lined up to be voted on late Friday or Saturday. When asked if the Senate would stay in session to pass the package, Thune said nothing is off the table.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would prefer the House pass the Senate’s aid bill but did not immediately reject Johnson’s proposal. He said, “Time is of the essence” to deliver aid to Israel.

Johnson’s plan, though convoluted, drew approval from some Republican senators, if only due to its chance to pass the dysfunctional House.

“The urgency is what’s driving the leverage to do something different,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer. “If all he gets out of it is a few months with the gavel and a portrait in the gallery, good for him.”

In the end, Republicans said they’re open to anything that gets the job done.

“If that’s the strategy they come up with, we’ll deal with whatever they send us,” said Sen. Marco Rubio.


Ben T.N. Mause is a NOTUS reporter and an Allbritton Journalism Institute fellow.