WASHINGTON — House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Los Angeles, told Republicans on Saturday that the House will vote next week on a stand-alone bill to provide aid to Israel, without any offsetting spending cuts.
Johnson made the announcement in an afternoon letter to colleagues while criticizing impending legislation in the Senate that would tie Israeli aid to funding for Ukraine and a package of tougher border security and asylum laws.
“While the Senate appears poised to finally release the text of the supplemental package after months of negotiations behind closed doors, their leadership recognizes that by failing to engage the House in their negotiations, they have eliminated the ability to quickly consider any legislation.” Johnson wrote, adding that the House “will have to act on these issues and our priorities will have to be addressed.”
Johnson criticized the Senate for what he called its “failure to move the appropriate legislation at the right time,” saying the House of Representatives needs to act in the absence of leadership from the Senate amid “the perilous circumstances currently facing Israel.”
“Next week, we will discuss and approve a clean, independent supplemental package for Israel,” he wrote. “During debate in the House and in many subsequent statements, Democrats made clear that their primary objection to the original House bill was with its amendments. The Senate will no longer have excuses, however misguided, against the rapid passage of this important support for our ally.
Johnson's office said the bill is set to include $17.6 billion in military aid to Israel “in addition to significant funding for US forces in the region.” A previous bill passed by the House of Representatives, early in Johnson's presidency, would provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel, attached to IRS cuts that Democrats said were a poison pill.
The Speaker's Office said the legislation, called the “Israel Supplemental Security Appropriations Act,” is scheduled to be introduced by Rep. Ken Calvert, Republican of California.
The unexpected move signals that Johnson is holding his ground against the settlement on immigration and funding for Ukraine, while signaling that Israeli aid is the only part of President Joe Biden's additional national security request that House Republicans are willing to pass.
It is unclear whether the Senate will take up a separate bill to aid Israel. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he wants to start voting next week on the broader supplemental bill and immigration bill, and the text is expected to be released Sunday.
The White House had previously expressed its opposition to a stand-alone Israeli aid bill, with National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby. saying In November, “the president will veto an Israel-only bill. “We – I think we’ve made that clear.”
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