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Lawler ‘confident’ House will vote on Ukraine aid after recess

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) said Sunday that he’s “confident” the House will vote on aid for Ukraine after the Easter recess ends, pointing to private conversations with Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).

Johnson has so far refused calls to bring a Ukraine aid bill to the floor for a vote, despite bipartisan pressure to fund military support for the country against a Russian invasion.

“I believe there will be a vote when we get back from the Easter recess,” Lawler said in a CNN “State of the Union” interview with Dana Bash on Sunday. “Certainly, this is critically important for our allies. We are the leader of the free world, and we cannot shirk on our responsibility to uphold and defend democracies across the globe.”

Lawler is among the sponsors of the bipartisan Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act, a package that would provide funding for Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel while greenlighting funding for certain border security measures. It has received some support from both parties but does not have the backing of either party’s leadership in the House.

The congressman said he believes Johnson will move forward on a vote for his bipartisan bill, or an “amended version” of it, in the coming days.

“I have spoken to him directly,” Lawler said of Johnson. “I’m not going to delve into the details of that conversation, but I am confident that he is going to bring a bill to the floor and that we will have a vote.”

Johnson has emphasized his support for Ukraine aid in principle but has refused to bring aid bills to the floor. The conflict underscores GOP divisions over Ukraine aid, as conservative factions of the party threaten to oust him over a potential vote.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) filed a motion to vacate Johnson from his Speakership just before the recess, adding that she will make the motion privileged and force a vote if Ukraine aid is introduced.

Meanwhile, numerous Democrats have stated they would oppose a motion to vacate and back Johnson if he moves forward on Ukraine aid.

Lawler said he is not concerned with efforts to oust Johnson.

“He understands the responsibility that we have. Look, China, Russia and Iran are not our friends. They’re not our allies. They are seeking to undermine and destabilize the free world and undermine the United States economically at every turn,” he said. “And so we need to push back. We need to support our allies. And if Ukraine were to fall and Russia [were] successful in this endeavor, that would have a catastrophic impact on Eastern Europe.”

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