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After months of budget deadlocks and stopgap funding measures, Congress has finally reached a permanent spending agreement for the rest of the fiscal year. However, House Speaker Mike Johnson is now facing pressure from the Freedom Caucus to secure the border before tackling the next funding battle over Ukraine. Members of the Caucus, such as Rep. Chip Roy, have made it clear that they will not support a Ukraine bill without border security measures in place. Johnson, who made concessions to pass the budget bill and avert a government shutdown, is already facing criticism from hardline Republicans who believe the bill does not reflect the wishes of the American people.

The budget bill was passed after Johnson made several last-minute moves to avoid a partial government shutdown, including disobeying the House’s 72-hour review rule and using an expedited voting procedure that required bipartisan support. For Johnson, compromising with Democrats has become a necessity due to the narrow majority in Congress. The ouster of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was forced out for similar compromises, serves as a warning for Johnson as he tries to balance the demands of hardline conservatives while keeping the government functioning. With the budget deal finalized, the focus has now shifted to Ukraine funding, which has been delayed for months.

Congress has yet to allocate funding for Ukraine, despite a $95 billion proposal sitting in the House. The Senate passed the proposal in February, but Republicans like Roy are opposed to providing aid to Ukraine while the border remains unsecured. The issue of border security has become a key voting issue for Republicans, especially in the lead up to the 2024 election. Former President Donald Trump’s influence on Republican dissent, urging Republicans to oppose a spending package that included border funding, has further complicated the situation for Johnson and his efforts to navigate funding battles.

The Ukraine funding decision will present a significant challenge for Johnson as he tries to balance the demands of the Freedom Caucus with the broader needs of the country. With pressure mounting from hardline Republicans to prioritize border security over international aid, Johnson will need to carefully navigate the upcoming funding battle to avoid further backlash. The specter of McCarthy’s ouster looms large over Johnson’s speakership, serving as a reminder of the consequences of compromising too much with Democrats. As Johnson works to secure funding for Ukraine while addressing border security concerns, the delicate balance between party loyalty and governance will be put to the test.

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