Johnson Unveils Plan for Aid to Israel, Ukraine

Johnson Unveils Plan for Aid to Israel, Ukraine

Sipa USA

Iran’s unprecedented direct attack on Israel this weekend has ramped up the pressure on Speaker Mike Johnson to decide on a path forward for foreign aid funding that has been stalled in the House for months.

House Republicans met this evening to discuss their next steps, and Johnson reportedly again rejected the idea of allowing a vote on the $95 billion aid package passed by the Senate in February with strong bipartisan support. He instead laid out a plan calling for Republicans to vote on separate bills for aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan along with a fourth bill that includes a ban on TikTok and some other Republican proposals, including a lend-lease deal for military aid and a plan to sell seized Russian assets to fund Ukraine’s war effort.

Johnson told Fox News on Sunday that he understands the urgency of delivering aid to Israel and would try again to do so this week. But the White House has already come out against a stand-alone bill for Israel, which would leave the outlook for further funding to Ukraine uncertain at best. Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly raised the idea of structuring aid to Kyiv as a loan, leaving open the possibility that Republicans would help push through such a plan. But the conservative House Freedom Caucus is already warning against using Iran’s attack to pass more funding for Ukraine. “Under no circumstances will the House Freedom Caucus abide using the emergency situation in Israel as a bogus justification to ram through Ukraine aid with no offset and no security for our own wide-open borders,” the group said.

Johnson’s plan for the aid package comes after he spoke Sunday with President Joe Biden and the three other top congressional leaders. The White House said Biden urged Johnson to take up the Senate bill, which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries also support. Schumer told reporters that Israel had used more than $1 billion worth of materiel to defend itself against Iran’s drones and missiles and would need to replenish its defenses. The Senate-passed plan includes $14 billion for Israel. “The best way to help Israel rebuild its anti-missile and anti-drone capacity is by passing that supplemental immediately,” Schumer said.

In the wake of the attack, House Republican leaders quickly packed this week’s agenda with a slew of bills targeting Iran and supporting Israel, but the Senate package was not on the list. Johnson has refused to allow the House to consider that bill, which much of his conference opposes because it includes $60 billion in additional funding for Ukraine. Bringing up the Senate plan would invite a Republican move to oust him and could well cost Johnson his job.