Why Speaker Mike Johnson should allow a vote on Ukraine and Israel aid

After contentious debate, the U.S. Senate passed a $95.3 billion national security supplemental. The measure helps Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan defend against totalitarian regimes bent on their destruction and rebuilds American defense stocks. Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan are asking for the same kind of assistance that the French gave Americans during the American Revolution.

Though the vote was bipartisan, with 22 Senate Republicans joining 45 Democratic colleagues in advancing the legislation, passage is far less certain in the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold a very narrow majority.

Speaker Mike Johnson, who met last month with the NATO general secretary and pledged support for Ukraine, is a lifelong supporter of Israel. Nevertheless, he acknowledged the difficulty of this supplemental passing the lower chamber. Johnson expressed reservations due to the lack of border security reform being included in the legislation.

We are grateful for Speaker Johnson’s leadership, both as a trustee at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, where we both served and as a stalwart conservative in the U.S. House of Representatives. And we share with him the disappointment at the failure of the Biden administration to meaningfully secure our borders. We also believe, as does Speaker Johnson, that the Biden administration’s feckless foreign policy has led us to this dangerous moment in history. Nevertheless, we strongly urge the speaker to put this national security supplemental on the floor for a vote, which we believe would pass in a bipartisan fashion. We should never make the perfect the enemy of the good.

America and the world are in this position due to a series of foreign policy mistakes that have projected American weakness around the world. The disastrous pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which resulted in the fall of Kabul to the Taliban and the abandonment of our NATO partners, not only betrayed our promises to our Afghan allies but signaled to evil actors that the United States is retreating from the world stage. Vladmir Putin seized on American weakness and President Biden’s refusal to take Russian advances on Ukraine seriously.

Biden foolishly waived sanctions on the Nordstream pipeline, allowing Russia to bypass Ukraine and provide energy to Europe. He waived off Russian troop buildup and even seemed to indicate tolerance with a “minor incursion” into Ukraine. Sensing little resistance, Russia did invade and while committing a litany of war crimes and atrocities which continue to this day, has met courageous resistance from the Ukrainian people fighting for their nation. Southern Baptists have seen both the resolute courage of their fellow Baptists, who endure cruel persecution in the Russian-occupied territories and support Ukraine’s efforts against their totalitarian foes.

We are nearing the two-year mark of this war, and while the U.S. and Europe have lent significant support, Ukraine is still badly in need of replenishing its weapons supplies.

We understand that Americans are war-weary from Iraq and Afghanistan, and we understand that the federal deficit is ballooning out of control and there is understandable caution about spending more. However, $95.3 billion is a fraction of the federal deficit and investing in Ukraine now is the best guarantee that we DON’T have to invest American troops in combat defending NATO later.

If we allow Ukraine to fall to Russia, it strengthens Putin, who has designs on at least the Baltic states and Poland, NATO allies that treaty would require far more than the mere weapons we are now currently giving Ukraine.

This national security supplemental also helps fund Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas. As Biden’s resolve to support our most cherished Middle East ally wanes, as protests in favor of Hamas gather steam in cities around the world, as genocidal terrorists continue to proclaim their desire to wipe out all Jewish people from the Middle East, the U.S. must support Israel.