GOP-led House cues up ‘clean, standalone’ Israel aid bill KJP denounces as a ‘cynical political maneuver’

Next week, the House will vote on a $17.6 billion “clean, standalone” Israel aid bill, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) announced on Saturday.

In a letter to lawmakers addressed “Dear Friends,” Johnson noted the Senate’s “failure” to act.

“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,” he wrote. “Next week, we will take up and pass a clean, standalone Israel supplemental package.”

As BizPac Review reported, in November, the House passed in a 226-196 mostly party-line vote the “Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2024,” which funded $14.3 billion in aid to Israel with funding cuts to the IRS.

The measure “was not taken up in the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) criticized it as a ‘flawed proposal,'” The Hill reports.

“Sadly, the Democrats have refused to consider that offset to support Israel (even though they agreed to additional cuts to the IRS to pay for their domestic priorities in the final appropriations topline),” Johnson wrote on Saturday.

The House bill comes as the Senate “is preparing to move on a long-awaited national security supplemental that includes assistance for Israel, Ukraine and Indo-Pacific allies in addition to border security policy,” according to The Hill.

“While the Senate appears poised to finally release text of their supplemental package after months of behind closed doors negotiations, their leadership is aware that by failing to include the House in their negotiations, they have eliminated the ability for swift consideration of any legislation,” Johnson wrote. “As I have said consistently for the past three months, the House will have to work its will on these issues and our priorities will need to be addressed.”

“It is unclear if Schumer would bring the House’s Israel-only bill to the floor if it clears the lower chamber — especially as the Senate barrels towards a vote on the national security package,” The Hill reports. “The Senate leader has sought to keep the contents of the supplemental together.”

In response to Johnson’s letter, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), replied, “I’m a No.”

“Israel has a lower debt to GDP ratio than the United States,” he argued. “This spending package has no offsets, so it will increase our debt by $14.3 billion plus interest.”

“Most of this money will go directly to the U.S. Military Industrial Complex (MIC), which, if you’re keeping up, prefers to be referred to as the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) now,” he stated, adding, “Watch for those stocks to go up Monday.”

“One clarification: the bill will spend over $17 billion, but some goes to replace weapons we’ve given to Israel, and some goes for other random costs in the Middle East,” Massie wrote. “In addition to this $17+ billion bill, we will probably give them the customary $3+ billion in the omnibus!”

Predictably, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre isn’t thrilled with the bill either, though for very different reasons.

The House bill, she complained, doesn’t include money for Ukraine — an omission that Jean-Pierre says is a “cynical political maneuver” by those pesky Republicans.

“For months the administration has been working with a bipartisan group of Senators on a national security agreement that secures our border and provides support for the people of Ukraine and Israel,” she wrote in an official White House statement. “Just as legislative text is imminent, the House Republicans come up with their latest cynical political maneuver.”

“The security of Israel should be sacred, not a political game,” she continued. “We strongly oppose this ploy which does nothing to secure the border, does nothing to help the people of Ukraine defend themselves against Putin’s aggression, and denies humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians, the majority of them women and children, which the Israelis supported by opening the access route.

“House Republicans should instead work in a bipartisan way, like the administration and Senate are doing, on these pressing national security issues.”

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich called Johnson’s announcement a “good move.”

“Speaker Johnson’s decision to bring up a free standing bill on aid to israel strips the Democrats of all their maneuvering,” he wrote on X. “Will they vote yes. If it passes the House will Schumer support passing it in the Senate. Will Biden sign aid to Israel? Good move by the Speaker.”

Melissa Fine

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