Updated Feb 3, 2024 - Politics & Policy

House GOP plans new Israel package in blow to Senate talks

House Speaker Mike Johnson.

House Speaker Mike Johnson. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images.

The House will vote next week on a new $17.6 billion Israel aid package that excludes the IRS cuts in their original bill, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said Saturday.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as Senate negotiators are preparing to roll out a deal on a comprehensive package to fund Israel, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific and border security that House Republicans have already declared “dead on arrival.”

  • The new House bill, which includes $3.3 billion to support U.S. military operations in the Middle East amid an expanding regional conflict, could put pressure on senators to abandon the deal.

Driving the news: In a letter to House Republicans obtained by Axios, Johnson wrote that Senate leaders have “eliminated the ability for swift consideration” of an emergency spending deal by not including the House in the talks.

  • “Given the Senate's failure to move appropriate legislation in a timely fashion, and the perilous circumstances currently facing Israel, the House will … take up and pass a clean, standalone Israel supplemental package,” he continued.
  • Writing that the IRS offset was the “primary objection” Democrats had to the last Israel bill, Johnson argued the Senate “will no longer have excuses … against swift passage of this critical support for our ally.”

The backdrop: The House passed a $14.3 billion aid package to Israel in November, shortly after Johnson took office, but Democrats and even some Republicans were upset that its spending was paired with cuts to the IRS.

  • Just a dozen of the most staunchly pro-Israel House Democrats voted for the bill, many vocally criticizing the IRS piece, and it was blocked from consideration in the Senate.
  • The Senate has spent months trying to craft a comprehensive package that would pair Ukraine funding with border security provisions, but Republicans’ openness to such a deal has waned as the talks dragged on.
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