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Politico: White House sends House Republicans 'vacation reading' about consequences of congressional inaction in Ukraine

by Nate Ostiller February 22, 2024 1:08 PM 2 min read
U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson on Dec. 1, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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The White House sent a memo to House Republicans castigating their inaction on aid for Ukraine and assigned a packet of "vacation reading" containing the potential consequences of their unwillingness to bring the aid to a vote, Politico reported on Feb. 21, citing a memo obtained from White House spokesperson Andrew Bates.

The White House has continued to criticize House Republicans over their refusal to pass legislation providing aid for Ukraine, which escalated after U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson convened an early recess on Feb. 15 without bringing the aid, passed days before by the Senate, to a vote.

The episode was the latest in months of impasse in Congress over aid for Ukraine, which has effectively run dry in the meantime.

The bipartisan funding measure, passed by the Senate on Feb. 13 with 70 votes, includes $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, as well as additional funding for Israel and other U.S. allies.

"The damage House Republicans are actively causing to American national security mounts every day that they insist on continuing their two-week vacation," Bates wrote in the memo.

Congress is set to reconvene on Feb. 28.

"Johnson has shown no signs of canceling Republicans’ vacation as he puts his own internal politics over the safety of the American people," Bates said, adding that the inaction threatens the security of the U.S.'s allies, including the possibility of Russian advances on the battlefield in Ukraine.

Concerns about Russia gaining the initiative in the war have grown after Ukraine was forced to retreat from the city of Avdiivka on Feb. 17 after months of intense fighting.

Johnson has continued to emphasize that he believes domestic concerns about the southern border with Mexico should take precedence.

"No amount of memos from the White House can change the fact that House Republicans were clear from the very beginning: any national security supplemental should start at our own border," said Johnson's spokesperson, Taylor Haulsee, on Feb. 21.

NBC News reported on Feb. 14, citing a source close to Johnson, that he wanted an in-person, one-on-one meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden before he took any action on the funding bill.

Republican House Majority Leader Steve Scalise claimed the president refused to accept the request, but Biden said on Feb. 19 that he was willing to meet with Johnson in order to try and hash out a deal.

"I'd be happy to meet with (Johnson) if he has anything to say," Biden said.

Opinion: As an American in Avdiivka, what is Congress doing?
I am an American military veteran, callsign “Jackie,” and I am writing from Donbas in Ukraine. I am originally from Orange County, California. I served in the U.S. military for eight years, stationed in Colorado, South Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. I also worked as a contractor at the

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