House approves Israel aid bill, setting up conflict with Senate

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House Republicans plan to vote on a bill next week that would provide billions in military aid to Israel and US forces in the region, a measure that is set to culminate with a Senate proposal expected to support to funding for border security. foreign democracies.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) announced in a letter sent to the Republican congress on Saturday that the House would add $17.6 billion to Israel’s military defense systems and US personnel and citizens in the region. its consolidation as a result of ongoing conflict. If approved by the House by midweek, the bill would be the second to be sent to the Senate in two months. But unlike the previous version, it includes an additional $3.3 billion for Israel and does not include controversial compensation to the Internal Revenue Service that House Republicans support and were considered a non-starter by the Democratic Senate.

“The Senate will no longer have excuses, no matter how false, against quickly providing this critical aid to our friend,” Johnson wrote in his letter.

The move comes as the Senate is expected to unveil and vote on a supplemental package this week that would fund new measures to control the historic flow of migrants at the US-Mexico border, while fulfilling President Biden’s $106 billion request to support Ukraine, Israel. and the Indo-Pacific region. The surprise announcement by House Republicans to send a stand-alone Israel funding bill to the Senate sets up duplicate votes in the two chambers, which remain divided on how to fund border security and Ukraine in a divided government.

Notably absent from the proposal is any funding for Ukraine, which has faced a sharp decline in support from the GOP House majority. The measure also does not include a border security proposal because House Republicans have asked the Senate to adopt their bill that was passed last year.

A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators has been working for months to find a compromise on border security after House Republicans telegraphed they would not support Biden’s request for a supplemental package to help allies foreign if it did not involve major changes to the border. Negotiations often ebbed and flowed with Sens. parole system.

Adding urgency to the issue, Biden last month vowed to use emergency authorities to “close the border when it comes over” if Congress passes the bipartisan immigration plan, largely placing the burden on the GOP House majority to accept the Senate’s approval.

Johnson told his colleagues on Saturday that in the two months it took senators to reach an agreement – which has not yet been made public – the world has seen an attack on US forces, retaliatory strikes against Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq , as well as the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas as justification for prioritizing sending foreign aid to the region immediately, leaving open whether a more complete supplementary package should be considered later.

“While the Senate appears poised to finally release the text of its amendment package after months of negotiations behind closed doors, the leadership is conspicuous by its failure to bring the House into their negotiations, they have eliminated the ability to quickly consider any legislation,” Johnson said.

The House bill would provide $9.7 billion to replenish various missile and defense systems in Israel. It would allow the country to quickly acquire advanced weapons systems and other defense services through the Foreign Military Financing Program and would boost the production of artillery weapons.

Another $7.7 billion would be allocated to replenish US defense stocks sent to Israel and military operations in the region in response to the October 7 attack. Another $200 million would be used to protect US personnel and to assist in the evacuation of US citizens if necessary.

Former president Donald Trump has also called on Republicans to vote against any border security measure until after the 2024 presidential election, building even stronger support against any proposal from the t – Senate. Johnson has indicated he opposes a Senate bill that contains fewer measures than the House Republican border security bill, known as HR 2, but has not said he would not take that proposal to the floor. that the text is yet to be. published by the Senate negotiators.

By forcing the Senate to pass the bill without a balance, Johnson has put the burden on Democrats, including the House, to vote against a measure that many would like to help Israel. ‘support him. It also puts House Republicans in a stronger position to broadcast their own messages before senators blame them for inaction.

Complicating matters for Johnson, however, is how the far-right side of his congress will react. They pointed to Johnson’s inaugural bill that bolstered support for Israel and introduced cuts to the IRS, which Republicans have long wanted. But the House Freedom Caucus has resisted passing funding bills that do not include cuts and Johnson’s latest move to rely on Democrats to send bills to the Senate. with a three-seat majority for the Republicans.

In addition, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) threatened to use a motion that would clear the way for the impeachment of former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). out as speaker if Johnson brings a bill supporting Ukraine to the House floor, while Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.) has moved to promote the measure if Johnson brings up bad border security legislation for a vote.

Johnson has repeatedly said he is “not concerned” by the move-to-empty threats and that they do not guide his judgment of governance.

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