Newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Sunday said a standalone bill for Israel aid will come to the House floor this week, sending an indication that President Biden’s request for aid to Ukraine will be further delayed.
“We’re going to move a stand-alone Israel funding bill this week in the House. I know our colleagues, our Republican colleagues in the Senate, have a similar measure,” Johnson said in an interview on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“We believe that that is a pressing and urgent need. There are lots of things going on around the world that we have to address,” he continued. “And we will. But, right now, what’s happening in Israel takes the immediate attention. And I think we have got to separate that and get it through.”
Johnson, along with other congressional leaders, met with President Biden last week at the White House, where he suggested that Biden break up the $100 billion supplementary budget request between aid for Ukraine and Israel given the overall consensus of House Republicans, some of whom have questioned further aid to Kiev.
Johnson said he believes an Israel-only aid package will have bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.
“My intention is not to use this for any partisan political gamesmanship,” Johnson said. “This is a very serious matter.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) on Sunday also suggested an Israel-only aid bill could come to the floor this week, while aid for other nations in conflict will come in a separate measure.
“I think what we’re going to do is — really because the need is so urgent now in Israel — is to start with Israel first and then deal with the other,” McCaul said in an interview on Fox News’s “Fox News Sunday.”
“As a separate measure and we’ll have that on the House floor this week,” McCaul continued. “But we can’t forget about the other adversaries linked to Iran, which is causing the problems in Israel, and that is Russia and Ukraine and Europe and the threat also of China to the Pacific. And also lastly … most importantly for me and my constituents, the border itself.”
Biden announced earlier this month he would ask Congress to pass a roughly $100 billion emergency funding request that includes $61 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel’s defense, $14 billion for personnel and operations at the U.S.-Mexico border, $10 billion for humanitarian aid and $2 billion for Indo-Pacific security assurance.
The U.S. has largely supported Israel’s fight against the militant group Hamas, which launched a bloody incursion into Israel earlier this month that left more than 1,400 Israelis dead. Israel has since bombarded Gaza, sparking concerns over a humanitarian crisis for the nearly 2.3 million Palestinians in the besieged territory.
Johnson, who was elected the 56th Speaker of the House last Wednesday, said he called on the White House during last week’s meeting to split the funding request in the wake of concerns Republicans would not support a Ukraine package.
Ukraine funding has been a source of controversy for some House Republicans, who pushed to keep aid to Kyiv out of the short-term stopgap funding measure passed at the end of September to keep the government open. Johnson himself voted against the stopgap funding bill, as well as multiple aid packages to Ukraine over the past year.
The House is barreling towards another government funding deadline in November unless they are able to pass another stopgap funding bill, a measure Johnson said he would consider if the House needs more time.
The lower chamber was paralyzed for more than three weeks this month in the wake of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif) historic ousting, while the House GOP struggled to coalesce support around one candidate.