House Will ‘Try Again’ on Israel Funding This Week: Speaker Johnson

Joseph Lord
By Joseph Lord
April 14, 2024Congress
House Will ‘Try Again’ on Israel Funding This Week: Speaker Johnson
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on April 11, 2024. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) says the House will “try again” to pass a funding package for Israel this week following Iran’s attack on the Middle Eastern nation.

During an appearance on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Mr. Johnson was asked if the attack, which Iran said was in retaliation for an Israeli strike on an Iranian diplomatic building in Syria, would change the House’s plans for funding Israel.

“We’ve understood the urgency of this from the very beginning,” Mr. Johnson said, noting that only days after he became speaker, the House passed a $14 billion aid package for Israel that would have been paid for by slashing the budget of the IRS.

That bill has languished in the Senate, where it hasn’t even been brought up for a vote by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Later, Mr. Johnson noted, the House passed a “clean” funding bill for Israel, also with a top-line cost of $14 billion, that was opposed by a majority of Democrats after President Joe Biden said he would veto the bill.

Still, Mr. Johnson says he plans to make another foray into funding Israel in the wake of the April 13 attack.

“House Republicans and the Republican Party understand the necessity of standing with Israel,” Mr. Johnson said. “We’re going to try again this week. And the details of that package are being put together right now. We’re looking at the options and all these supplemental issues.”

Mr. Johnson was asked about the possibility of providing additional funding to Ukraine in the form of a loan, an idea originally floated by former President Donald Trump and picked up by many in the House Republican conference.

“[President Trump] and I are 100 percent united on these big agenda items,” Mr. Johnson replied.

“When you talk about aid to Ukraine, he’s introduced the loan-lease concept, which is really important one I think has a lot of consensus as as well as these other ideas, the REPO Act which we’ve discussed, which is seizing the the assets of corrupt Russian oligarchs to help pay for this resistance,” Mr. Johnson said. “I think these are ideas that I think can get consensus, and that’s what we’ve been working through.

“We’ll send our package, we’ll put something together and send it to the Senate and get these obligations completed.”

There are many uncertainties in the path that Mr. Johnson plans to pursue.

It’s currently unknown what level of support an aid bill will include, or if it will wrap in Ukraine as a single package.

That could cause issues for Mr. Johnson, as he leads a caucus that, while staunchly supportive of Israel, is nearly evenly divided on funding Ukraine.

And all of this comes as Mr. Johnson continues to deal with the threat of a motion to vacate, issued by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), hanging over his head.

It’s unclear if Mr. Johnson will seek to pass new aid for Israel under normal House rules. That path would likely mean he could spare only a single vote—far from a certainty as members like Ms. Greene and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) have in the past expressed opposition to all foreign aid.

Alternatively, Mr. Johnson could seek passage of the new funding under a suspension of the rules, a move that would require a two-thirds majority vote and the support of Democrats to pass.

After Democrats blocked the previous Israel funding bill after President Biden signaled his opposition, it’s also unclear if this approach would work.

From The Epoch Times

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