House to vote on standalone Israel aid bill next week

Speaker Mike Johnson told GOP lawmakers on Saturday that he’s preparing to bring a stand-alone, $17.6 billion supplemental funding package for Israel and U.S. troops in the Middle East to the House floor next week.

The move comes as Republicans in that chamber seek to preempt the Senate’s push on a much broader war and border security measure, which could be released Sunday and voted on next week, that Johnson has declared “dead on arrival.”

“Given the Senate’s failure to move appropriate legislation in a timely fashion, and the perilous circumstances currently facing Israel, the House will continue to lead. Next week, we will take up and pass a clean, standalone Israel supplemental package,” Johnson, R-La., wrote in a letter to colleagues on Saturday.

The new House bill departs from an earlier Israel aid package by dropping an offset opposed by Democrats — rescinding more IRS enforcement funding — and adds $3.3 billion for U.S. operations in the region since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. 

“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.”

House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert, R-Calif., introduced the new supplemental bill on Saturday, with backing from Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger, R-Texas, and the GOP leadership team. House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., is a co-sponsor.

The measure largely mirrors an earlier House-passed bill which provided $14.3 billion for military aid to Israel and support for U.S. embassy personnel and for the evacuation of American citizens. That package was in line with President Joe Biden’s request, other than its IRS funding offset, which cost the earlier bill support from all but 12 House Democrats. 

The earlier Israel-only bill never had much of a chance in the Senate given the IRS offset. But even if the new House GOP-backed bill passes next week, its odds seem low in the Democratic-controlled Senate, which is focused on the much broader bipartisan package that will include aid to Ukraine and Taiwan as well, along with the border security and immigration piece that’s been in the works for months.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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