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Senate conservative wades into House GOP’s foreign aid mess

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Sen. J.D. Vance on Wednesday encouraged a group of House Republicans to block debate on their own speaker’s foreign aid plan — an uncommon effort by a member of one chamber to sway policy across the Capitol.

Vance (R-Ohio) delivered the remarks Wednesday before the Republican Study Committee, the biggest House GOP caucus, according to three people in the room, who were granted anonymity to speak candidly about the closed-door weekly lunch.

The Ohio conservative argued that apart from pushing through aid to Israel, there’s no reason to move on any of the other aid bills — which includes aid to Ukraine and Taiwan — until House Republicans secure border security victories, one of the three people said.

Vance is one of the Hill’s most active critics of new Ukraine aid, and he joined other conservatives in opposing a border security deal that emissaries from both parties negotiated to hitch a ride on a foreign aid bill. His views got backup during the RSC meeting from Stephen Miller, a former senior adviser to Donald Trump who was the group’s other speaker.

But while Vance is aligned with many on Speaker Mike Johnson’s right flank, his advice wasn’t particularly well-received by all the House members in the room. Some scoffed at the idea that Vance would try to weigh in on their chamber’s business.

“What does he know” about House procedures, one lawmaker in the room quipped afterward.

A spokesperson for RSC said the group consistently invites conservatives to speak at its meetings to have “open and honest discussions with our members.”

“Today was no different. We appreciate Senator Vance and Stephen Miller taking the time to share their points of view,” said spokesperson Miranda Dabney.

The criticism comes as Johnson presses forward with his aid plan as an ouster threat led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) looms in the background. Earlier this week, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) became the second Republican to join Greene in backing a proposal to boot the speaker, though it’s not clear how soon the duo might try to force a vote on their plan.

Once and if they do, Johnson’s foreign aid plan has increased the likelihood that he would need House Democrats to vote on the floor to save his job.

Johnson’s plan includes five parts. In one group of bills, he aims to pass aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan in three separate tranches; a fourth bill would seize Russian assets, hit Iran with sanctions and then trigger a forced TikTok sale. A fifth bill, taken up separately, would include border measures.