When Chuck Schumer and Mike Johnson recently had their first one-on-one conversation, the Senate majority leader encouraged the new speaker to adopt a bipartisan approach in preparation for an upcoming tumultuous battle over fall spending.
It appears, however, that Johnson is not inclined to heed Schumer’s advice.
On Thursday, the Louisiana Republican unveiled his inaugural major legislative initiative—a $14 billion bill aimed at bolstering Israel’s defenses against Hamas. Instead of extending goodwill to his Democratic counterpart on a shared priority, Johnson used this opportunity to showcase his conservative credentials.
By forcefully pushing through the Israel bill, which cut into a key Democratic objective, Johnson delivered a clear message to the Senate leader he’ll need to collaborate with for at least another year: He’s perfectly content with defying Schumer in order to maintain unity within the House GOP. This approach may pose challenges for Johnson in the long run.
Learning the Hard Way
Schumer, in a Thursday interview, expressed his skepticism about Johnson’s initial major legislative move, which lacked bipartisanship. He anticipated that Johnson might encounter difficulties, saying, “His first major legislative effort was not bipartisan at all. And I think he’s going to learn the hard way that that doesn’t work. The president already said he’d veto it. I said I wouldn’t put it on the floor and McConnell didn’t go for it.” Schumer also pointed out that both the president and he himself had reservations, with the president even indicating a potential veto, and Senate Minority Leader McConnell not being in favor of it.
I Want to Work With Him
Referencing Johnson’s past remarks during a springtime vote on raising the debt ceiling, Schumer reminded him of the importance of working across the aisle, quoting Johnson’s statement that Republicans’ control in Washington is limited. Schumer expressed a desire to collaborate with Johnson, saying, “I want to work with him. I want to try.”
While many senators from both Democratic and Republican sides are still familiarizing themselves with Johnson, House Republicans, particularly those on the right wing, are applauding his tough stance on Israel aid. Rather than attempting a more bipartisan Israel bill that could include other Senate demands like Ukraine, Johnson chose to play hardball, a move that Schumer might have found difficult to reject.
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.