WASHINGTON — All eyes will be on House Speaker Mike Johnson when Congress returns from a two-week recess as he navigates a thicket of divisive issues with an ever-slimming Republican majority — and a far-right threat to depose him.

Atop the list of contentious issues is a long-stalled military aid package for Ukraine and other allies. Also on the line are nearing deadlines to renew a controversial surveillance program on April 19 and reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration in May.

And lawmakers are grappling over funding for a new bridge in Baltimore following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge over the break. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told colleagues that in the coming months the upper chamber could take up such issues as rail safety, child online safety and TikTok legislation following the House’s passage of a bill that could ban the social media app in the U.S.

Just five months on the job, Johnson is once again in the hot seat, facing enormous political and international pressure to make good on his word to pass new aid for Ukraine. While he has vowed to put billions in foreign aid on the House floor once lawmakers return, doing so could trigger a vote to oust him from the speakership led by one of his most vocal critics, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., a Donald Trump ally who opposes Ukraine aid and wants to focus instead on the U.S. border.

Greene took a first step toward ousting Johnson right before the House left for its two-week break but stopped short of forcing a vote.

“We are losing our country to the illegal invasion — that’s happening every single day at our southern border. And I am so pissed off about it because the American people are pissed off about it,” she said recently on Tucker Carlson’s show on X. “This isn’t a Republican speaker we have right now; this is a Democrat speaker of the House because there is zero daylight between what Nancy Pelosi did last Congress and what Mike Johnson is doing now as our so-called Republican speaker of the House.”

Republicans’ fragile, two-seat advantage over Democrats means that just a handful of GOP rebels could team up with all Democrats to end Johnson’s nascent speakership, in the same fashion that toppled his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy. Some Democrats say they may rescue Johnson if such a vote happens, although Johnson’s allies believe those comments only weaken his standing within his own party.

If Greene or another Republican forces a vote to oust Johnson, just a majority vote would remove him as speaker.

A key surveillance power

Republican divisions over the surveillance powers under FISA Section 702 could also affect Johnson’s fate. An influential faction of conservatives — including House Freedom Caucus members and its former leader, Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio — is demanding reforms to limit federal authority to spy on Americans. Two conservative aides said members are unhappy Johnson has appeared to side with House Intelligence Chair Mike Turner, R-Ohio, to extend the powers. Turners legislation doesn’t go as far as the Jordan-led bill, but it includes reforms such as cutting the number of FBI personnel authorized to approve U.S. person searches and requires independent audits of all of those searches.

On Friday, Johnson urged his conference to back a newly released compromise bill, called the Reforming Intelligence and Surveillance Act. In a letter to his conference, Johnson said passage of the legislation is “critically important.”

”If our bill fails, we will be faced with an impossible choice and can expect the Senate to jam us with a clean extension that includes no reforms at all,” he said, extending a warning to Republicans that the Democratic-controlled upper chamber could capitalize on GOP divisions. “That is clearly an unacceptable option.”

The House could vote as soon as next week on the legislation following an all-member classified briefing with officials from the intelligence community on Wednesday.

Ukraine and Israel aid

The Senate in February approved a $95 billion supplemental aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. Johnson rejected that bill but hasn’t tipped his hand as to how he’ll construct his own package. Hill Democrats and the White House have poured cold water on a Johnson pitch to tie Ukraine aid to a reversal of President Joe Biden’s pause on new liquified natural gas export terminals. But linking aid to the proposed REPO Act — which would seize assets of Russian oligarchs and use proceeds to help pay for the Ukrainian war effort — is gaining steam.

The speaker has insisted for months that he won’t approve fresh Ukraine aid without passing tough border policies, a point he reiterated in his response to Greene’s criticism: “Any funding of the President’s supplemental request should be premised on meaningful policy to help the American people and finally address the invasion at our southern border.”

Meanwhile, a growing faction of Democrats say they oppose unconditional lethal aid to Israel, particularly after the killing of seven humanitarian workers with World Central Kitchen in Gaza last week. Some prefer to wait until the May 8 deadline, the day Israel must certify that it is abiding by international law to receive continued U.S. military support.

The Senate had tied aid to both nations together, but if the U.S. delays sending aid to Ukraine until mid-May, it could be devastating as Kiev, running low on ammunition, tries to stave off the Russian invasion.

“This is a real dilemma because there is an existential urgency to get aid to Ukraine. They’re running out of ammo,” Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt., told NBC News. “The support for aid to Israel I think is declining in the House. My view is we should have separate votes on both.”

Johnson has indicated openness to holding separate votes. But at the same time, aid to Israel is more popular among his Republican conference than aid to Ukraine. The Senate-passed package joining the issues, which has lingered in the House for nearly two months, may be the only option Johnson has, according to multiple Republican and Democratic lawmakers, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

“It’s too late to test this at the eleventh hour,” said Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., a former Navy helicopter pilot. “Coalitions will fall apart if you don’t pass the Senate bill. It’s almost unworkable at this time.”

House Republicans scheduled a vote next week on a messaging bill that would rebuke Biden’s latest calls for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza. It seeks to capitalize on the divisions between Democrats who find themselves in an increasingly fraught political landscape, caught between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian factions of their base.

Mayorkas impeachment

House Republicans in February impeached Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the border and are expected to present the Senate with both articles of impeachment on Wednesday. Senators will be sworn in to begin a trial on Thursday afternoon, and Democratic leaders believe they will swiftly dispense with the process that same day.

Democrats believe they have 51 votes to table or dismiss the articles speedily. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the most conservative Democrat, has blasted the Mayorkas impeachment efforts and called them “ridiculous,” telling Republicans to take their concerns to the ballot box if they don’t like how Mayorkas is handling immigration.

Retiring Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona independent, is expected to vote with Democrats and does not support a trial for Mayorkas, two sources with knowledge of her position told NBC News.

Along with Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Sinema worked with Mayorkas for weeks to craft a bipartisan border package that was blocked by Republicans within days. She heavily criticized the other side of the aisle, labeling the move as “political theater” and slamming GOP leaders for backtracking on the need for legislation to solve the problem.

Meanwhile, Republicans are expected to push for a full Senate trial.

There is also the possibility that a handful of moderate Republicans could side with Democrats in dismissing the Mayorkas impeachment articles. Leadership will work hard to prevent that from happening, said two GOP aides with knowledge of the process.

The Baltimore bridge collapse

The unexpected and deadly collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26 added one more item to Congress’ full plate — and created another headache for Johnson.

During a visit to the collapse site in Baltimore on Friday, Biden — standing alongside Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore — called on Congress to quickly pass funding for a new bridge. Some estimates have put the price tag at $400 million.

“I fully intend, as the governor knows, to have the federal government cover the cost of building this entire bridge — all of it, all of it — as we’ve done in other parts of the country in similar circumstances,” Biden said, with submerged steel trusses as his backdrop. “I stand here, I call on Congress to authorize this effort as soon as possible.”

But that same day, the Freedom Caucus, which has been a thorn in Johnson’s side, rattled off a number of conditions for emergency federal funding for a new bridge: The cost must be offset by cuts in other places; federal regulations should be “waived to avoid all unnecessary delays and costs”; and the funding must be restricted to physical structure repairs and not go to unrelated projects.

On top of that, the Freedom Caucus is demanding the Biden administration’s LNG export pause “must be lifted before Congress considers appropriating any funding for the bridge reconstruction.”

The Freedom Caucus’ lengthy list of demands adds to the group’s complicated and often prickly relationship with Johnson as he tries to survive this Congress. Johnson, who briefly was a member of the caucus, has had a mixed record on similar emergency disaster relief aid; he’s voted for some disaster packages and opposed others.

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