Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is expected to address Senate Republicans on Wednesday for the first time since he took over the top spot in the House.
Two Senate GOP sources confirmed the planned meeting to The Hill. It will take place during the conference’s usual Wednesday luncheon.
Most Senate Republicans were unfamiliar with Johnson when he took over as Speaker, and members are using the session as both a meet-and-greet and to discuss policy items.
“I think it’s going to be a little of both,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said.
“I would like to know more about him, what his positions are,” Ernst said, adding that the plan to fund the government past the Nov. 17 deadline will also likely come up. “With a number of issues that we have right now, how we’re going to overcome those.”
Johnson last week held meetings with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The meeting also comes at a critical time as lawmakers attempt to navigate the Biden administration’s supplemental request that ties funding for Israel, Ukraine, the border, Indo-Pacific and humanitarian aid into a single package.
Johnson on Sunday announced plans for the House to vote on an $14 billion aid bill for Israel that the other funding but includes a pay-for by cutting funding for the IRS that was OK’d last year by the Inflation Reduction Act in an attempt to force a tough decision by the Senate.
However, Senate Democrats have shown no sign that they will bring the bill up, calling the IRS cut a poison pill and a “non-starter.” Schumer and McConnell have been united that any package will include roughly $60 billion for Ukraine as many members view the items included in the administration’s request as intertwined.
“It’s almost as if the real goal of this House GOP package is not to help Israel, but to get tax relief for the super-wealthy, while leaving out Ukraine aid, leaving out humanitarian aid for Gaza, leaving out funding for the Indo-Pacific,” Schumer said on the floor earlier on Tuesday.
“Instead of advancing a serious proposal to defend Israel, defend Ukraine, and provide humanitarian aid, this House GOP proposal is clearly designed to divide Congress on a partisan basis, not unite it,” he continued. “I hope the new Speaker realizes that this is a grave mistake and quickly changes course.”