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Rep. McCaul says decision on Ukraine aid vote is a "speaker determination"

McCaul: Ukraine aid vote is a "speaker determination"
Rep. McCaul says decision on Ukraine aid vote is a "speaker determination" 06:59

Washington — Rep. Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Sunday that the decision about when and how to bring Ukraine aid up for a vote in the House is a "speaker determination," noting that he had plans to talk with Speaker Mike Johnson later in the day, although any aid package faces opposition from some in their conference. 

"We don't have time on our side here," McCaul said on "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "We have to get this done."

McCaul said he had a commitment from Johnson that the Ukraine aid would come to the floor, adding that his preference would be this week. But with the decision, Johnson is balancing a number of competing factors. 

The speaker pledged to take on the issue after Congress returned from a recess last week. Although the Senate in February approved a supplemental funding package that included aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, Johnson blocked the legislation from moving forward in the House, stressing that the lower chamber would find its own path forward on the foreign aid. 

That path forward has remained unclear so far. Some Republicans oppose the funding without concessions, like bringing up Ukraine aid in exchange for President Biden reversing a moratorium on natural gas export permitting, or allowing the sale of frozen assets of Russian oligarchs. And former President Donald Trump has advocated for the aid to come in the form of a loan.

Johnson appeared with the former president at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate on Friday, where Trump expressed his support for the job the speaker is doing. Johnson faces a threat to oust him as speaker from one House Republican and an ally of Trump's, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who opposed his approach to resolving the government funding fight last month and has warned the speaker about moving forward on aid to Ukraine. 

But when it comes to information about the Ukraine-Russia conflict, Republicans put their trust of Trump higher than the U.S. military and Pentagon, conservative media sources or the U.S. State Department, according to a CBS News/YouGov poll released Sunday. McCaul said "that's precisely why" the speaker visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago to discuss the Ukraine issue, noting that Trump has "tremendous influence over my conference."

The comments come after an unprecedented attack by Iran against Israel on Saturday, which prompted fresh calls from congressional leaders for approving additional aid to Israel. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both called on the House to move forward with the Senate-passed national security supplemental, which includes aid for both Israel and Ukraine, while House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said the House would move forward with legislation to support Israel this week. 

Schumer said at a news conference on Sunday afternoon that approving the aid was "vital for the future of Ukraine, for Israel and the West."

"The best way to help Israel and to help Ukraine is to pass the supplemental this week," Schumer said. "And I've called on Speaker Johnson to do that."

Patrick Maguire contributed reporting. 

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