US House speaker Mike Johnson, who took up the post as far back as last week, has confirmed he intends to put the issues of aid to Ukraine and Israel separately, a move that goes against the White House’s plan to secure support for additional funding as soon as possible.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration asked Congress to approve USD 106 billion in additional aid, including more than USD 61 billion for Ukraine and USD 14.3 billion for Israel, attacked by the Hamas terrorist group several weeks ago.
The package was stalled since the House did not have a speaker.
Now, speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Mr Johnson said he would support a separate bill that includes funding for Israel only.
"There are a lot of things going on around the world that we have to address, and we will. But right now, what’s happening in Israel, takes immediate attention," he said. "And I think we’ve got to separate that and get it through."
Mr Johnson has been a long-time opponent of Ukraine aid, leaning towards the far-right Republican wing and saying there was not enough accountability for the funds already provided.
He, however, softened his tone recently, saying he supported Ukraine’s right to fight against Russian invasion and that Vladimir Putin could not win that war.
The United States is by far the largest donor of military and financial support for Ukraine, having allocated approximately USD 45 billion in military equipment since Russia’s full-scale invasion last February.