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

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Representative Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, intends to offer legislation on the House floor the following week to provide Israel emergency funding totaling $17.6 billion. This is significant because legislative language for a compromise on border security is anticipated to be released by White House and Senate negotiators this weekend. President Biden has also asked for an additional $106 billion in funds to address humanitarian concerns, Israel, Ukraine, and other challenges.

Johnson expressed concern that the negotiations were not proceeding quickly enough to support Israel in its war with Hamas and lamented the exclusion of the House GOP majority from the negotiations in a letter to his Republican colleagues on Saturday.

Johnson issued a warning, saying that the Senate would be unable to consider any legislation quickly if the House was not included in negotiations. Johnson declared that the House will lead in light of these worries and Israel’s dire situation. He declared that next week, a clean, stand-alone Israel supplemental package would be brought to the House floor.

Interestingly, Biden’s proposal for an additional $14 billion was met by one of the first stand-alone Israel funding bills Johnson introduced as speaker. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., criticized the bill’s proposal to offset the revenues by rerouting money from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), accusing Johnson of putting a poison pill in it. The proposal was backed by conservative Republicans.

Johnson underlined that the offsets in the original House plan were the main reason why Democrats opposed it. He urged the Senate to act quickly to approve this vital backing for Israel.

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

Republicans, meanwhile, have demanded that tight border and immigration laws be implemented before they will accept funding for Ukraine. About $60 billion is included in President Biden’s request for more funding to help Kyiv fend off Russia’s incursion.

In spite of this, Johnson and a large portion of his conference have signaled that they might not agree with the compromise; the majority seem to favor the provisions found in H.R. 2, the House GOP’s border bill. President Biden has been pushed by Johnson and others to address border issues through executive authority; but, the White House maintains that a legislative solution is required and charges the House GOP with turning the border into an election issue.

By Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer hopes to have a vote on the Senate’s package.


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