House Plans Israel Aid Vote and May Add on Ukraine, Johnson says

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on March 20, 2024, in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/TNS)

(Bloomberg News/TNS) — Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday the House will vote this week on aid for Israel in the wake of Iran’s attack, and he indicated Ukraine funds could be part of the package.

“The House Republicans and the Republican party understand the necessity of standing with Israel,” Johnson told FOX News. “The details of that package are being put together now.”

The House failed to pass a standalone $17.6 billion Israel aid package in February, when most Democrats went along with a handful of conservatives who voted against the measure. Democrats have argued against funding Israel alone for fear doing so could allow Republicans to allow Ukraine aid to languish.

The speaker has been working to put together an alternative to the Senate-passed $95 billion package that has funds for Israel, Ukraine and the Indo-Pacific. He had been eyeing a vote on that alternative this week and there’s added impetus following Iran’s attack on Israel.

Johnson said former President Donald Trump is supportive of supplying Ukraine with loans instead of grants and using Russian assets to pay for new aid. Those elements could be part of the package, he said.

“These are ideas that I think can get consensus,” Johnson said.

Johnson faces an ouster threat from Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene if he allows a vote on Ukraine aid before new restrictions on migration across the U.S.-Mexico border are put in place. Johnson on Friday received crucial backing from Trump, who spoke against any effort to oust Johnson.

The speaker told FOX that he continues to urge President Joe Biden to take executive action to secure the border, indicating he would not try to attach border provisions to the foreign aid measure this week. Biden in recent days has said he is weighing such a move.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has urged Johnson to simply pass the Ukraine-Israel package approved in the Senate.

“The national security supplemental that has waited months for action will provide critical resources to Israel and our own military forces in the region,” he said in a statement Saturday. “We cannot hope to deter conflict without demonstrating resolve and investing seriously in American strength.”

Those comments echoed a push by Democrats to have Johnson take up the bill.

“I think the most important deterrent action that Congress can take … is for Speaker Johnson to not take days or weeks to come up with some package but to pass the supplemental tomorrow,” Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN on Sunday.

House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Turner said he expects a vote on aid to Ukraine. “And I think we’re going to see overwhelming support for that in the House this week,” he told NBC News.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy linked Russia’s invasion of his country with Iran’s attack on Israel and called on Congress to “make the necessary decisions to strengthen America’s allies at this critical time.” Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski urged Johnson to “please let the House vote” on foreign aid to Israel and Ukraine.

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