Biden talks Israel and Ukraine with new House speaker

October 28, 2023

According to The Hill, Louisiana Republican Rep. Johnson became the 56th House speaker this past Wednesday by a vote of 220 to 209.

While Democrats quickly declared Johnson to be "extreme," President Joe Biden caused some surprise on Thursday by taking a meeting with him. 

Meeting focused on Ukraine and Israel

The Associated Press reported that Biden met with Johnson along with Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries at the White House on Thursday.

The meeting focused on the president's desire for $106 billion to spend on American aid for Israel and Ukraine as well as other national security priorities.

The Associated Press noted that Johnson has thus far been skeptical of the need to provide Ukraine with additional funding.

He has suggested that support for Ukraine should be detached from Israeli aid, saying House Republicans would put forward a separate $14.5 billion for the latter.

"We need to bifurcate those issues"

Johnson reiterated that message during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, saying "I told the staff at the White House today that our consensus among House Republicans is that we need to bifurcate those issues."

However, Johnson stressed that Congress is "not going to abandon" Ukraine and insisted that America "can’t allow Vladimir Putin to prevail in Ukraine because I don’t believe it would stop there."

"It would probably encourage and empower China to perhaps make a move on Taiwan," the new House speaker continued before adding, "We have these concerns."

GOP senator says Johnson's Ukraine stance is "concerning"

However, those remarks raised eyebrows among some within Johnson's own party, including Ohio Republican Sen. J.D. Vance.

"To his great credit, the new speaker has been a stalwart on the Ukraine issue—voting consistently against an endless conflict with no plan from the Biden administration," Vance said in a post on the social media platform previously known as Twitter.

"It's concerning to see him change his tune so quickly after being elevated to this role," the senator went on to state.

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