Latest News 15-04-2024 12:02 11 Views

House Speaker Johnson to push Israel aid this week, could include package with billions to Ukraine, Taiwan

House Speaker Mike Johnson is expected to bring a spending package to the House floor this week that will provide wartime aid for Israel after it suffered a drone and missile barrage from Iran over the weekend. The spending package also includes billions for Ukraine and Taiwan.

Johnson, R-La., is facing immense political pressure to clear through his chamber a $95 billion supplemental package that would send support to the U.S. allies, as well as provide humanitarian aid for civilians in Ukraine and Gaza and funding to replenish U.S. weapons provided to Taiwan. However, the GOP maintains only a slim majority in the chamber and Republicans are divided on whether to continue supporting Kyiv, who is defending itself from Russia's invasion.

Iran’s attack on Israel late Saturday further increased the pressure on Johnson, but it could have given him an outlet to underline the urgency in approving the aid. Johnson told Fox News Channel’s 'Sunday Morning Futures' that Republicans 'understand the necessity of standing with Israel.'

'The details of that package are being put together right now,' Johnson said Sunday, adding that he would try to advance the aid bill this week. 'We’re looking at the options and all these supplemental issues.'

The White House and Senate members are urging Johnson to put a bill already approved by the Senate onto the House floor. The Republican leader could also start fresh with a new bill that has spending levels more favorable to certain members, in an effort to win over their support.

The speaker has expressed support for legislation that would structure some of the funding for Kyiv as loans, pave the way for the U.S. to tap frozen Russian central bank assets and include other policy changes. Johnson has pushed for the Biden administration to lift a pause on approvals for Liquefied Natural Gas exports and has demanded policy changes to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

It is not immediately clear how Johnson would proceed.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said in a statement Saturday that the House would change its legislative schedule this week to 'consider legislation that supports our ally Israel and holds Iran and its terrorist proxies accountable,' but did not provide additional details on which path Johnson may take.

Johnson’s legislative push this week comes after he traveled to Florida on Friday for an event with former President Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Following the meeting, Trump expressed support for Johnson and said he has a 'very good relationship' with him.

'He and I are 100% united on these big agenda items,' Johnson added. 'When you talk about aid to Ukraine, he’s introduced the loan-lease concept, which is a really important one, and I think has a lot of consensus.'

Johnson’s push for aid comes amid pressure from Biden’s White House and the Democrat-controlled Senate.

On Sunday, Biden called congressional leaders and urged them to act quickly to send aid to both Israel and Ukraine.

Following the call, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said there was 'consensus' among the participants.

'The best way to help Israel rebuild its anti-missile and anti-drone capacity is by passing that supplemental immediately. As I said, Israel expended about over a billion dollars in defending itself and the security supplemental would replenish the kind of anti-missile and anti-drone defenses that are in the Arrow, in the David's Sling, and in the Iron Dome,' Schumer said at a news conference in New York, ABC News reported.

He added: 'It’s vital for the future of Ukraine, for Israel and the West.'

The Senate previously passed a bill that includes roughly $60 billion for Ukraine and $14 billion for Israel.

The White House said on Sunday’s call, Biden 'discussed the urgent need for the House of Representatives to pass the national security supplemental as soon as possible.'

'We didn’t need any reminders in terms of what’s going on in Ukraine,' White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on NBC. 'But last night certainly underscores significantly the threat that Israel faces in a very, very tough neighborhood.'

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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