Feb 6, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Senate bill gets no help from its likeliest House GOP backers

Michael McCaul

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images.

Even the House Republicans who would be the most prone to support the Senate's Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and border security funding package — the staunch Ukraine supporters — are distancing from it.

Why it matters: It cements the almost certain demise of the package as most Republicans in both chambers, as well as some Democrats, position against it.

What they're saying: "I do think the four threats are tied together, but I'm not sure the border bill coming out of the Senate is going to be sufficient for the House," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told Axios.

  • "I'm hopeful that we'll have an Israel, Ukraine, counter-China, counter-Russia, counter-Ayatollah bill we can vote on," McCaul added.
  • Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), a vocal Ukraine supporter on the House Armed Services Committee, said he has "concerns" about its border policy provisions and will "keep [my] powder dry and just listen for a while."
  • "The flaws in the Senate supplemental are too serious to support," Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), another steadfast Ukraine supporter, said in a statement.

State of play: Former President Trump and his conservative allies have led an all-out assault on the bill, with even the Senate Republicans who crafted it backing away from trying to pass it this week.

  • "Why would we force a vote on something that would kill it to be able to force the vote now," Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told reporters, according to Axios' Stef Kight.
  • The House, meanwhile, is moving forward on a standalone Israel aid bill that the White House has threatened to veto if it passes both chambers.

What we're watching: McCaul floated a different avenue for passing Ukraine funding if the Senate bill falls apart and Congress instead tries to pass some of its component parts – the annual appropriations bills.

  • "This is part of the sort of ping-pong political game, and eventually it's going to come down to where are we going to be March 8," McCaul said, referring to the deadline for funding most federal agencies.
  • He suggested that funding for Ukraine, as well as potentially Israel and the Indo-Pacific, be wrapped into a bill funding the Pentagon, going so far as to predict: "I think defense approps will have that in there."
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