Republican Mike Johnson, the newly elected House Speaker, has announced that lawmakers in the United States will be voting this week on providing defense aid to Israel in its conflict with Hamas, consequently delaying a request for funding for Ukraine. In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Johnson stated, “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.” However, he did not mention when the House would address the proposed funding for Ukraine.
President Joe Biden’s administration has proposed bundling aid to Ukraine and Israel into a $106 billion emergency funding bill. This bill includes $61.4 billion for Ukraine’s conflict with Russia, $14.3 billion for Israel, and $9.2 billion for humanitarian aid in both countries. However, most House lawmakers from the majority party oppose sending additional aid to Ukraine, leading to a delay in addressing the funding request.
Johnson expressed confidence that the stand-alone Israel bill would receive strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. He emphasized that the priority at the moment is helping Israel defend itself against the ongoing conflict with Hamas. Johnson stated, “There are lots of things going on around the world that we have to address, 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.”
During his speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition summit in Las Vegas, Johnson shared firsthand accounts of Hamas atrocities against Israelis. He stressed that the United States cannot allow this brutality to continue and reaffirmed the country’s commitment to stand with its friends. Johnson’s remarks highlight the urgency and importance of providing aid to Israel in the midst of the ongoing conflict.
The decision to prioritize funding for Israel over Ukraine comes amidst increasing Republican opposition to providing additional aid to Kiev. Congress has previously approved $113 billion in aid to Ukraine through four rounds of legislation. However, disagreements among Republicans over this issue contributed to the ouster of Johnson’s predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, as House speaker earlier this month.
While Johnson has been skeptical about providing aid to Ukraine, he has no reservations about supporting Israel. He criticized the Biden administration for not providing a clear roadmap for achieving its goals with massive aid to Ukraine and resolving the conflict. This further reinforces the decision to focus on helping Israel in its current situation.
In summary, lawmakers in the United States are set to vote on a stand-alone bill to provide defense aid to Israel, delaying the consideration of funding for Ukraine. The priority is to address the immediate needs of Israel in its conflict with Hamas. This decision comes amidst Republican opposition to further aid for Ukraine and concerns over the lack of clarity in the Biden administration’s approach to resolving the conflict. Johnson emphasizes the importance of standing with Israel and addressing the ongoing atrocities, while expressing confidence in bipartisan support for the stand-alone Israel bill.