Apr 13, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Iranian attack on Israel reignites Congress' fight over foreign aid

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, wearing a blue suit, white shirt and light blue tie, speaking at a press conference while surrounded by colleagues.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

An Iranian drone attack on Israel has sparked a renewed push by Republican lawmakers to pass a standalone military aid bill to Israel.

Why it matters: Republicans have twice tried to pass such legislation, but failed both times due to Democratic opposition to a package that doesn't also include aid to Ukraine and Taiwan.

  • Democratic support for Israel has eroded further in the months since Republicans' last effort due in part to the World Central Kitchen strike.

The latest: Iran launched attack drones and missiles against Israel on Saturday night local time in retaliation for an airstrike in Syria that killed a top Iranian general, Axios' Barak Ravid reported.

Driving the news: House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) said in a statement on Saturday that the House's schedule for next week will be changed in response to the attack.

  • "The House will move from its previously announced legislative schedule next week to instead consider legislation that supports our ally Israel and holds Iran and its terrorist proxies accountable," he said.
  • Scalise did not specify what the legislation will be however, saying "more details on the legislative items to be considered will be forthcoming."

What they're saying: Many House and Senate Republicans — including some who support Ukraine aid — said legislation should include a standalone aid package to Israel as well as sanctions against Iran.

  • Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.) told Axios the House should pass "full funding to Israel. Immediately."
  • "Speaker Johnson must bring forward a supplemental package of aid for Israel in order to support them in their time of need," Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) said in a statement.

The other side: Most Democrats, and one notable Republican, called instead for the House to move on a Senate-passed, $95 billion aid bill for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and Palestinian civilians, which has been stalled for months.

  • "On Monday, our first order of business should be to agree to the Senate-passed supplemental, which is the fastest and best path to providing emergency aid," said House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement: "The national security supplemental that has waited months for action will provide critical resources to Israel and our own military forces."
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