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June 24, 2024

House to Vote on $17.6 Billion Israel Aid Package, Snubbing Broader Senate Border Deal

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Feb 4, 2024

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson announced on Saturday that the House will hold a vote next week on a standalone bill to provide $17.6 billion in military assistance to Israel, separate from the Senate’s broader border security and aid package. The move escalates tensions between the House GOP and Democratic-led Senate over their competing proposals.

House Bill Focuses Solely on Israel Aid

The House bill, drafted by the Foreign Affairs Committee, would devote the entire $17.6 billion to restocking Israel’s Iron Dome and other defense systems without addressing other global aid priorities. Johnson stated the House will vote on a “clean” bill focused only on Israel’s request for emergency funds to replenish its weapons stockpiles after over a year of conflict with Palestianian militants.

“House Republicans have made it clear for weeks that we want a vote on unconditional aid to Israel after the vicious Hamas rocket attacks it endured last year,” said Johnson. “The Senate has had plenty of time to produce legislation that reflects our priorities, including standing firmly alongside our ally Israel. Next week the House will pass a standalone bill to provide Israel the assistance it needs, with no excuses.”

Johnson explicitly criticized the Democratic Senate leaders negotiating the broader package for failing to incorporate House GOP input. The Senate bill combines $17.6 billion in defense funding for Israel with $44.9 billion in border security investments as well as aid to Ukraine and Taiwan.

White House Rejects “Cynical Ploy”

The White House strongly rebuked the House Republicans’ plan, calling it a “cynical political ploy” to delay assistance to Ukraine as it battles Russian forces. Press Secretary Andrew Bates slammed the House bill for holding Israel’s urgent defense needs hostage to ignore pressing humanitarian crises in Europe.

“We cannot allow support for our democratic allies like Israel and Ukraine to become embroiled in partisan political tactics,” said Bates. “All Americans should unite behind providing this critical humanitarian and security assistance, not carve up relief for political advantage.”

Biden officials have heavily pressured Johnson to support the Senate’s comprehensive aid package, which took months to negotiate across both parties. But the Speaker has refused to back down.

Johnson Attacks “Dysfunctional” Border Talks

In announcing the House vote, Johnson also excoriated the Senate for prolonging negotiations on border security investments he has demanded as a condition for releasing aid to Ukraine.

“The reality is that the Senate’s dysfunctional attempts to link Ukraine funding to half-measures at the border, instead of serious solutions, has slowed this entire process down,” said Johnson.

Democratic leadership retorted that Johnson has been “completely unconstructive” in border discussions by rigidly clinging to his wishlist without compromising. They accuse Johnson of “bad faith stall tactics” to sink bipartisan negotiations that took major concessions from both sides.

What’s Next: Pressure Ramps Up Before Vote

The White House and Democratic leaders will fiercely lobby moderate House Republicans to peel off support for Johnson’s standalone Israel bill in hopes of resuscitating the broader Senate deal. But top House conservatives have firmly coalesced behind the Speaker’s move.

“We cannot afford any more excuses for failing to guarantee Israel’s right to self-defense after Hamas terrorists fired over 4,300 rockets at Israeli civilians last May,” said Republican Study Committee chair Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), who whips the majority of House Republicans. “Both Republicans and Democrats should support this vital assistance to our most cherished Mideast ally.”

With Johnson unwilling to budge on his demands, the coming week will test whether he can hold his caucus in line — or if the pressure from Democrats and Biden can fracture his fragile coalition.

Table 1 summarizes the key differences between the House and Senate aid proposals:

House Israel Aid Bill Senate Border + Aid Deal
Israel Military Aid $17.6 billion $17.6 billion
Border Security Investments None $44.9 billion
Aid to Ukraine None $37.7 billion
Aid to Taiwan None $4.5 billion

This story synthesizes information from multiple news reports to provide the latest details on escalating partisan tensions over competing aid packages in Congress. It centers around Speaker Johnson announcing a House vote to provide aid solely to Israel, rebuffing the Senate’s broader deal. The article includes background on the dispute, responses from both parties, what to expect next, and a comparative table of the bills.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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