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The House is out of session, and holding a Republican strategy, team building retreat at the Green Briar Hotel in West Virginia. Yesterday Speaker Johnson announced at the retreat that the house would take up, Ukrainian aid vote in the next two weeks.

Johnson says he expects the house take up Ukraine aid with Democratic votes

So what happened?

What is the "suspension calendar"? and what changed to allow the Dems? to leverage it?

Senate has already passed the 93 billion package, do they start there?

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    Sounds like they made a deal
    – Pete W
    Mar 15 at 14:09
  • or maybe unrelated, and they want to unbundle the Israel aid portion, to make room for further haggling ... msn.com/en-us/news/other/… ... or both.
    – Pete W
    Mar 15 at 14:14
  • in same link, Schumer made what is for him unprecedented criticism of Israel, essentially calling for Netanyahu's defenestration
    – Pete W
    Mar 15 at 14:20
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    @NoDataDumpNoContribution, I've heard Democrats call Johnson's achievements as the bare minimum. That they won't be supporting Johnson in the vacate vote because they don't want to reward the bare minimum. In a Presidential election year the minority party doesn't have a lot of motivation to aid a dysfunctional majority. It does take some pressure off that we now have a budget which will take us beyond the next election, and a foreign aid bill.
    – JMS
    Apr 22 at 14:47
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    @NoDataDumpNoContribution, I kind of agree with you. Comprimise is the only way to pass anything in the U.S. brand of Democracy. That Johnson was able to comprimise even what 14 months into his 2 year term shows promise. He is probable seeing the highest level briefings on the various foreign policy crises. Perhaps they convinced him he had a constructive role to play. Good for him to rise to the office. Still took too long, and the democrats would be committing political malpractice to throw him a rope.
    – JMS
    Apr 23 at 18:40

1 Answer 1

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Re: Suspension motion

Members frequently use the “motion to suspend the rules” to fast-track legislation that has broad support and little need for prolonged debate. When the House considers a bill under suspension of the rules, the House suspends its normal rules and procedures controlling legislative debate and votes, allowing the bill to pass quickly. The suspension process’ parameters mean that broadly bipartisan legislation is typically best suited for it. from: https://www.progressivecaucuscenter.org/suspensions-117th-congress

Re: Suspension calendar

There is a special calendar when a suspension motion may be made.

A motion to suspend the rules may only be made by the Speaker of the House or their designee, though it is customary for committee chairs to write the Speaker requesting a suspension. Once a member moves to "suspend the rules" and take some action, debate is limited to 40 minutes, no amendments can be offered to the motion or the underlying matter, and a 2/3 majority of Members present and voting is required to agree to the motion.

These votes, under the rules, may only take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Under special circumstances, suspension votes may take place on Thursdays or Fridays, or other days... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspension_of_the_rules_in_the_United_States_Congress

I think the Speaker is really just saying, that he plans on bringing the new bill to the floor via a suspension motion.

Potential significance in the current situation:

  • If the matter under consideration was controversial, like Ukraine aid, it would be a sign that a deal was made between the party leaders, and they're using procedure to limit debate for the purpose of locking out any hold-outs still opposed to the deal.

  • If the matter under consideration was not particularly controversial (eg Israel aid, without the House IRS policy changes bundled to it), it wouldn't mean much.

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    It's worth nothing that after (standalone) aid to Israel failed to reach the 2/3 votes, Johnson said he would bring it to the floor in regular procedure "next week", but AFAICT that hasn't happened in over a month. So the hardliners in the rules committee stuck to their guns apparently. Johnson may be getting tired of them. Mar 15 at 16:18
  • OTOH he may also be counting on the fact that there's more opposition in the GOP to Ukraine aid, so maybe he's done the math that Ukraine aid will also fail to reach 2/3, IDK. Mar 15 at 16:23
  • Thirdly, on Ukraine aid, he was threatened with his decision being bypassed entirely via a discharge petition. kyivindependent.com/… I'm not sure how realistic the chances for that were though. And we can only speculate if Johnson's decision was somehow influenced by that. Mar 15 at 16:24
  • @Dolphin613Motorboat yeah there's a lot going on. Another factor is that the bulk of the primaries are done, so the pressure is off many Representatives among those who were worried about that.
    – Pete W
    Mar 15 at 18:23
  • Schumer's statement yesterday is also a factor that reflects Israel policy into the US election maneuverings, because of the Netanyahu - Trump alliance. Many Republicans in both House and Senate seem to have responded to that. I'm really unclear about the logic of where that goes.
    – Pete W
    Mar 15 at 18:25

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