The bitter dispute over the budget in the USA reveals the deep divisions among Republicans in Congress and dampens hopes that new aid funds for Ukraine will be approved soon. The Republican leader of the US House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, has come under fire within his group after his support for a bipartisan budget bill. Party colleagues from the right-wing fringe are pushing Johnson ahead of them and threatening to drive him out of office. They are also opposed to new aid for Ukraine, which is being attacked by Russia.

Application with explosive power

Congress passed a $1.2 trillion budget package that will fund the U.S. government through the end of September. This averted a partial standstill in government business at the last moment. Johnson pushed through the package despite strong criticism from his group in the House of Representatives, and in the end a majority of Republicans voted against it. The Republicans have a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives, and the package was passed with the support of Democrats. The arguments over the budget had lasted for months.

After the vote in the House of Representatives, MP Marjorie Taylor Greene from the ultra-right fringe surprisingly introduced a motion to drive Johnson from office. According to Greene, this was initially just a “warning”. In her view, the budget package is a Democratic budget that she does not support. Johnson’s behavior was “fraud”. At the same time, she also explained: “We need a new chairman.” Some intermediate parliamentary steps are necessary between Greene’s motion and an actual vote of no confidence. It is unclear whether – and if so, when – this could happen.

Chaos in the group

But Greene also hinted at what could motivate her to take further steps against Johnson. This includes Johnson bringing a Senate-approved aid package that provides around $60 billion in support for Ukraine to a vote in the House of Representatives. Approval is still pending there. “That’s not what people want,” Greene said. Radical Republicans like Greene reject support for Kiev. That’s why Johnson has so far blocked a vote on new aid.

Most recently, the 52-year-old reportedly appeared open to making a vote on the aid package possible. He should now think twice about this. Because Greene’s move once again illustrates Johnson’s politically sensitive situation. Since his election as chairman in October last year, members of the radical right have been pushing him. His predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, had previously fallen out over the funding issue himself. He was voted out of the post of chairman of the parliamentary chamber in a historic vote.

Ukraine aid pending

The radicals in his group want to force greater savings. They are interfering with the continued financing of government programs by Democratic US President Joe Biden. However, passing a budget is one of the core tasks of Congress and usually requires bipartisan compromises.

With their general blocking attitude, parts of the Republican Party give the impression that they are primarily interested in causing chaos. This is also shown by Greene’s actions against Johnson. The arch-conservative is not exactly part of the moderate camp of his party and still has to fear for his position.

The USA is considered Ukraine’s most important ally

It is unclear how much support Greene will receive for her proposal in her group. But given the narrow majority in the House of Representatives, just a few votes from Republican MPs are enough to get rid of Johnson – should the Democrats unanimously vote for him to be voted out. That’s what they did with McCarthy back then. Democrats have reportedly offered to bail out Johnson if he allows a vote on Ukraine aid. However, it might be more comfortable and probably more face-saving for him to simply sit out the crisis.

The USA is considered Ukraine’s most important ally in the fight against the Russian invasion. Since the war began in February 2022, President Biden’s administration has provided more than $44 billion in military aid to Kyiv. However, according to the US government, the funds approved by Congress for Ukraine have been used up.