House Speaker Mike Johnson’s Plan to Link Military Aid to LNG Export Permits

White House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is considering conditions for expanding U.S. military aid to Ukraine. A measure is being linked to potentially reversing a moratorium on new permits for liquefied natural gas export facilities.

Mike Johnson (R-La.), Vice President Kamala Harris, President Joe Biden
Mike Johnson (R-La.), Vice President Kamala , President (Image source: The New York Times)

The move could be seen as a political victory against 's climate agenda. Blocking the proposed export terminal could benefit Johnson's home state of Louisiana.

Republicans who see the aid package as toxic may be swayed by the terms, which signaled the package could be pushed through the chamber despite Johnson's opposition.

“When we return after this work period, we'll be moving a product, but it's going to have some important innovations,” Mike Johnson said Sunday in an interview on Fox News.

The aid package for Ukraine, which has faced resistance from Republicans, is likely to pass Congress soon due to strong support from Democrats and mainstream Republicans. The main obstacle has been Johnson's reluctance to bring it up in the face of hard-right opposition within the GOP.

However, pressure from the Biden administration and NATO allies is pushing Johnson to find a way forward that minimizes political backlash within his party. It seems inevitable that Johnson will allow the aid to come to the floor, with the focus now shifting to how and when this will happen.

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson (Image source: )

Johnson is working on building consensus among House Republicans on the structure of the aid package, with the possibility of using the REPO Act to fund some of the aid by selling off frozen Russian sovereign assets being considered.

“If we can use the seized assets of Russian oligarchs to allow the Ukrainians to fight them, that's just pure poetry,” he said.

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U.S. officials were initially hesitant about seizing Russian assets due to legal and economic concerns, but the Biden administration has shifted its stance due to decreased financial support for Ukraine.

Senator Johnson proposed sending aid to Ukraine as a loan and tying it to lifting the moratorium on liquefied natural gas exports to reduce reliance on Russian gas.

Ukraine-Russia Conflict Update Losses, Armored Vehicle Shortages, and Global Aid Initiatives
Ukraine-Russia Conflict Update Losses, , and Global Aid Initiatives

The measures outlined aim to convince Republicans that the aid package's cost would be offset, potentially through advancing fresh sanctions against Russia. The administration's pause on new export permits for liquefied natural gas has faced opposition from environmental activists but could be a political incentive for Republicans.

Johnson is caught between opposing forces within his party regarding aid for Ukraine, with mainstream Republicans, NATO leaders, and Democrats urging support while hard-right members like Rep. Greene oppose it. Johnson faces pressure from global leaders to act and spoke with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine to discuss the urgent need for aid and cutting off Russia's funding sources for the war.

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