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Dems sit back as House GOP dukes it out over foreign aid

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House Democrats have adopted a wait-and-see posture on Speaker Mike Johnson’s four-part foreign aid package as it faces a key procedural Rules Committee roadblock.

Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries‘ message to the morning caucus meeting: Stay united and frosty on the foreign aid package. He gave no marching orders on exactly what that would require from Democrats. Their votes will almost certainly be needed to get it over the finish line.

He also made the case to lawmakers that its components were essentially the same as the Senate-passed foreign aid bill, according to multiple people in the room. And the caucus applauded when they were told the fourth part of the package, including a bill potentially restricting TikTok and beefing up sanctions on Iran, was free of border provisions.

Democratic leadership also told the room that they urged Republicans to vote more quickly on the legislation and waive the 72-hour-rule, which they said Republicans are adamant about sticking to in this case.

And needing help from Democrats has not stopped some House GOP leaders from lambasting the minority party in the foreign aid debate.

As House Republicans kicked off a committee meeting Thursday morning to tee up floor action on the four bills, the chair of the Rules Committee railed on President Joe Biden for “shattering” both national and global security, by trying to appease “his radical base.”

Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan are “in these dangerous situations — not in spite of President Biden’s leadership, but because of it,” said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas).

Burgess could need votes from Democrats to even move the legislation beyond his committee, considering conservative Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Chip Roy of Texas and Ralph Norman of South Carolina all oppose the foreign aid bills. If the three combine with Democrats to vote against the bills, the package won’t make it to the House floor.

Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern, the panel’s top Democrat, said it’s “beyond the pale” that top House Republicans are blaming Biden while GOP lawmakers threaten to unseat their speaker for moving to pass the foreign aid measures. Especially, he added, since it’s been more than nine weeks since the Senate overwhelming passed the bipartisan $95 billion assistance package in February.

“And meanwhile the world has been watching, and our allies have been waiting — and waiting and waiting — for the GOP to get their act together,” McGovern said. “Well guess what? Our allies are out of time. And the Republican Party is out of excuses.”