House GOP Will Introduce Stand-Alone Israel Aid, Snubbing Border and Ukraine Funding Package

News & Politics

House Republicans will introduce a bill this week that would give Israel $17.6 billion in military aid, more than the $14.3 billion in Israeli aid contained in the national security bill that will be considered by the Senate next week. The extra $3.3 billion is for U.S. military operations in the Middle East.

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The Senate bill will also include $61 billion for Ukraine and about $15 billion for aid to Taiwan and border security. 

But Speaker Mike Johnson is refusing to take up the Senate bill because Senate Democrats “have eliminated the ability for swift consideration of any legislation” because they refused to negotiate the aid package with the House and the House wlill “continue to lead” by taking up and passing a narrow package focused only on aid to Israel.

“As I have said consistently for the past three months, the House will have to work its will on these issues and our priorities will need to be addressed,” Johnson wrote. 

Those “priorities” don’t include aid to Ukraine or changes in immigration law. Any bill that addresses those two issues will have to be passed by a majority of Democrats with some Republican backing. 

Wall Street Journal:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has said that legislative text of a national-security package will be released this weekend. Many Republicans have said that they need to see the legislative text before saying whether they can support the package. Legislation generally needs 60 votes to clear the Senate, but the threshold is even higher this time because Republicans have said that they won’t supply the requisite votes unless at least half the Senate GOP conference—or 25 Republicans—will vote “yes.”

House Republicans wanted to offset Ukraine funding by clawing back some of the $80 billion in IRS funding passed as part of the “Inflation Reduction Act” (/sarc). Democrats pointed out that cutting IRS funding would actually cost money, so the GOP removed the offset.

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“During debate in the House and in numerous subsequent statements, Democrats made clear that their primary objection to the original House bill was with its offsets,” Johnson wrote. “The Senate will no longer have excuses, however misguided, against swift passage of this critical support for our ally.”

Johnson added, “Given the Senate’s failure to move appropriate legislation in a timely fashion, and the perilous circumstances currently facing Israel, the House will … take up and pass a clean, standalone Israel supplemental package.”

The White House opposes the GOP’s new Israel proposal, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, calling it a ploy designed to distract from the bipartisan Senate bill. “Just as legislative text is imminent, the House Republicans come up with their latest cynical political maneuver,” she said.

If I were the White House, I wouldn’t dismiss the Republican bill so quickly. It may be the only aid bill that the House will pass.

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