Speaker Johnson Unveils $17 Billion Israel Aid, Ends Senate Excuses

Next week, Representative Mike Johnson, R-La., plans to introduce legislation on the House floor to provide Israel with $17.6 billion in emergency funding. This comes at a noteworthy time, as negotiators from the Senate and the White House are expected to release legislative text over the weekend for a border security compromise. Additionally, President Biden has requested $106 billion in supplemental funding for Ukraine, Israel, humanitarian causes, and other issues.

In a letter sent to Republican colleagues on Saturday, Johnson criticized the exclusion of the House GOP majority from the negotiations, expressing concern that they were not moving swiftly enough to assist Israel in its conflict with Hamas.

Johnson warned that the Senate’s failure to involve the House in negotiations eliminates the ability for swift consideration of any legislation. Due to these concerns and the urgent circumstances faced by Israel, Johnson stated that the House will take the lead. He announced plans to bring a clean, standalone Israel supplemental package to the House floor next week.

Notably, one of the first standalone Israel funding bills Johnson introduced as speaker was for approximately $14 billion, aligning with Biden’s request in his supplemental aid package. However, this bill proposed offsetting the funds by redirecting money from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a move supported by GOP hardliners but opposed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who accused Johnson of including a “poison pill” in the bill.

Johnson emphasized that Democrats’ primary objection to the original House bill was its offsets. He called on the Senate to pass this critical support for Israel without further delays.

The legislative text for the proposed package is expected to be released on Saturday afternoon by Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on defense spending.

Meanwhile, Republicans have insisted on strict border and immigration policy changes as a condition for supporting funds for Ukraine. President Biden’s supplemental funding request includes approximately $60 billion to aid Kyiv in resisting Russia’s invasion.

Despite this, Johnson and many members of his conference have indicated that they may oppose the compromise, with most signaling a preference for measures outlined in H.R. 2, the House GOP border bill. Johnson and others have also urged President Biden to use executive authority to address border concerns, while the White House contends that a legislative solution is necessary and accuses the House GOP of politicizing the border as an election issue.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer aims to hold a vote on the Senate’s package by Wednesday.


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