House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) failed to keep his word last month and use the one bit of leverage that Republicans hold – control of the House. Instead, he signed off on the Schumer-Biden massive $1.2 trillion spending bill that funds so many programs and values important to the left, such as the promotion of gender ideology, the green new deal and DEI programs, while leaving conservatives feeling abandoned and let down by the substance and the process.

The bill also helps fund a continuation of what the Government Accountability Office, the GAO, revealed last week – that over the past two years, the federal government has “spent” about half a trillion dollars on what is commonly referred to as “waste, fraud and abuse,” what they now call “improper” payments and “overpayments.” And that doesn’t count the $224 million in earmarks given over the same period to the eight members of “the Squad,” the most extreme and pro-Hamas faction of the modern day, far-left Democratic Party, nor does it count the $900 million that went to the 49 members of the conservative Freedom Caucus.

Speaker Johnson openly discussed the matter with Charlie Kirk on Real America’s Voice, and argued that he wanted to give everyone 72 hours to read the bill, as promised, and understands the sentiment behind being willing to partially shut the government down. But he said it was nearly midnight on March 22, just before Congress was going into its two-week Easter recess, and that the Biden administration would have made it extremely painful with what they would choose to shut down.

He said that the script would be flipped and the media would have blamed it all on Republicans and that all national polling shows it would have been bad for Republicans. It would then take a two-thirds vote to end the partial shutdown, and the Democrats would hold out for even more policy demands as the price for enough Democrat votes to end the shutdown.

Johnson also pointed out how the GOP has such a narrow and shrinking margin in the House that they could only afford to lose one member’s vote, while the Democrats control the Senate and the White House. Were there any aspects of the bill that Johnson would have considered a red line that would have been reason enough to attempt to use his leverage as Speaker and say no to Chuck Schumer? Apparently not.

But the battle that needs to be fought and could be won would have been a demand that Joe Biden shut down the illegal crossings at the southern border, return it to how he found it when he became President and before he took 296 executive actions on immigration in his first year in office, including overturning about 90 of former President Trump’s executive actions. And then have that debate every day in the public square.

Johnson deserves credit for when he stood his ground two months ago and exercised his leverage by refusing to take up the $118 billion Senate bill that combined aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan with a bill that gave the illusion of border security when in fact it kept the door wide open for the flow of illegal migrants coming across the border. The Democrats and their media allies howled that this was the best bill conservatives could have hoped for, but that they buckled to Donald Trump’s wishes to keep it alive as a campaign issue for 2024.

The White House even said in February that it was considering a plan to take executive action, meaning without requiring Congress’ okay, to restrict migrants’ ability to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border if they crossed illegally, but then did nothing.

More than 10 million migrants have crossed into the U.S. since Biden took office. According to The New York Times, as of last November, more than 24,000 Chinese citizens had been apprehended crossing over the southern border from Mexico in the past year, and there were 100,000 more Chinese citizens who have been given final deportation orders who are still in the country.

While most of the people crossing the border illegally, or with questionable asylum claims, come seeking a better life for themselves and their families, that doesn’t mean the U.S. is obligated to or should let them in for that reason. We are already the most generous nation in the world, allowing about one million legal immigrants per year, and should control who and how many are allowed to come.

A tragic effect of Biden’s open border has been a significant increase in sex trafficking, drug trafficking, murder and other crimes. In addition, there has been a massive increase in spending on processing, moving, housing, feeding and providing medical care and pre-paid debit cards to these illegal border crossers.

“The number of individuals apprehended illegally crossing the Southwest border and found to be on the terrorist watchlist has increased 2,500 percent from Fiscal Years 2017-2020 to Fiscal Year 2023. And those are only who we’ve caught,” Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., of the House Committee on Homeland Security said. 

On top of that, The New York Times reported last year that the Department of Health and Human Services revealed that over the previous two years, the agency couldn’t reach more than 85,000 children who were supposed to have been living with their sponsors but were missing. And that number is believed to have gone up considerably since then. Remember when kids separated from their families was a hot button issue, covered around the clock. The difference is that the magnitude is much greater now, and the president is not named Trump.

Speaker Johnson actually has another chance to pressure the White House to reverse Biden’s executive orders and once again secure the border. But it looks like he’s not going to take it. It is the issue of tying supplemental spending for Ukraine with aid to Israel and Taiwan, this time without the border element included.

While the House passed a stand-alone bill to aid Israel, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Democrats refused to take it up unless it was tied to money for Ukraine. Johnson has, until recently, said he is open to aid for Ukraine, perhaps not the $61 billion the Democrats are asking for, but not unless the Biden administration takes steps to shut down the border.

Republicans in the House are very divided over continuing aid to Ukraine. Some are all in, prepared to go along with Biden and Schumer and trust that Ukraine’s objectives in the war can be achieved and that the money is going where it’s supposed to go. President Zelensky’s stated position remains that there will be no negotiations with Russia until their troops are removed from Crimea and the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. But there is no indication that Ukraine is achieving its military goals of driving out Russia’s military. Instead, there is ongoing destruction of cities and human life and limb at a tragic rate, with no end in sight.

The House GOP position that appears to be gaining the most traction is that they want accountability for the more than $100 billion in aid that has already been sent, and a plan or scenario for how the war ends. Wars usually end up at the negotiating table, and this figures to be one of those wars. The question is when and under what pre-conditions. It only figures to get worse for Ukraine, meaning less bargaining power when the two sides finally do come to the table. Why isn’t the Biden administration pushing for a ceasefire and an end to the fighting?

Could something be worked out beginning with a ceasefire followed by talks, deconfliction and agreements between the two parties? Secretary of State Antony Blinken probably made such a deal less likely on Thursday by announcing definitively that “Ukraine will become a member of NATO,” with all that implies. For instance, if that was the case today, all of NATO would be at war with Russia.

Ukraine made its deepest strike into Russia on Tuesday, injuring 12 in a drone attack on a major oil refinery about 700 miles from the Ukraine-Russia border that could easily escalate already high tensions. Russia blames Ukraine and the West for the terrorist attack at a concert hall in Moscow last month that killed at least 139 people, and for which a branch of ISIS took credit.

President Zelensky stated last summer that his hands were tied in the spring counteroffensive against Russia because the West was not providing him with the military support he needed. The Biden administration then asked Congress for a $24 billion supplemental for Ukraine, just two months before the Hamas terrorists attacked Israel, killing about 1,200 and taking another 250 hostage. Then Biden upped the number for Ukraine to $61 billion, believing that by tying it to $14 billion for Israel, Republicans would have a hard time saying no.

The weakness and wobbliness from the Biden administration is causing war, chaos and uncertainty throughout the world, not stability, as they like to claim. They are continuing to fund and accommodate the worst actors in the world today, including Iran and China, and their failed energy policy has enriched Russia, allowing it to prosecute the war with increased energy receipts.

Speaker Johnson recently pledged to bring some version of aid to Ukraine up for a vote, suggesting that it be done as a loan and using seized Russian assets that are currently frozen and partially available to the U.S. government. But since it is highly unlikely that Ukraine will be able to pay back the loan, it amounts to a gimmick, a way to claim that we didn’t give additional aid, but just loaned them money instead.

Johnson has a chance to test the Biden regime on its priorities. Do they care more about keeping an open border with millions more coming across, or to get aid to Ukraine? Johnson shouldn’t be afraid of the backlash for drawing a red line on demanding border security. According to a new AP poll, about two-thirds of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of border security, “including about 4 in 10 Democrats, 55% of Black adults and 73% of Hispanic adults.”

It is a fight worth having, and failure to engage may well mark the end of his speakership.

The views expressed in CCNS member articles are not necessarily the views or positions of the entire CCNS. They are the views of the authors, who are members of the CCNS.

© 2024 Citizens Commission on National Security

© 2024 Citizens Commission on National Security