The newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) are set to square off over difficult topics that will put their ability to the test: emergency money for Ukraine and continuing the government’s funding past Thanksgiving.
McConnell claims he wants to maintain Israel’s and Ukraine’s military assistance connected because he sees both countries’ conflicts as components of a greater worldwide threat.
He has cautioned time and time again that it is poor politics for the GOP to create a confrontation with Democrats that would lead to a government shutdown.
Johnson has expressed early support for a stopgap financing plan that would entail significant cutbacks to nondefense spending, which Democrats claim would never pass the Senate. Johnson claims he wants to “bifurcate” the concerns of Israel and Ukraine.
After the next three weeks, Johnson has suggested suspending federal funding with a stopgap measure that would run until January or April, while McConnell wants to pass the regular appropriations legislation before Christmas in order to increase defense spending.
Johnson has also suggested cutting other spending in order to offset $14 billion in aid to Israel; this is a proposal that is sure to cause controversy among Senate Republicans and Democrats alike.
Speaker Johnson presented the legal defenses that many House Republicans used to support their votes against certifying President Biden’s election on January 6, 2021, and McConnell and Johnson have remarkably different relationships to the former president Trump.