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Business News/ News / World/  House to Vote on Israel Aid Without Ukraine Funds Next Week
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House to Vote on Israel Aid Without Ukraine Funds Next Week

The US House will next week vote on an standalone $17.6 billion Israel aid package without any Ukraine aid, Speaker Mike Johnson said Saturday.e

House to Vote on Israel Aid Without Ukraine Funds Next WeekPremium
House to Vote on Israel Aid Without Ukraine Funds Next Week

(Bloomberg) -- The US House will next week vote on an standalone $17.6 billion Israel aid package without any Ukraine aid, Speaker Mike Johnson said Saturday.e

Johnson said the move is needed to get aid to Israel quickly in its battle with Hamas in the Gaza Strip because there is no time to consider a package that combines aid to Ukraine and Israel with US-Mexico border security provisions. That proposal is set to be released soon by the Senate after lengthy negotiations.

The Israel bill unveiled Saturday is the latest sign that House Republicans are prepared to delay action on Ukraine aid indefinitely due to disputes over US migration policy. Aid for Israel is far more popular within the House GOP than aid to Ukraine.

The bill includes funds for Israel’s Iron Dome and Iron Beam missile defense systems, funds for US military operations in the Middle East and enhanced protection for US personnel at embassies. It won’t have offsetting spending cuts, unlike a $14 billion Israel aid bill that passed the House over Democratic objections.

“Given the Senate’s failure to move appropriate legislation in a timely fashion, and the perilous circumstances currently facing Israel, the House will continue to lead," Johnson said in a letter to colleagues. 

“During debate in the House and in numerous subsequent statements, Democrats made clear that their primary objection to the original House bill was with its offsets," he said. “The Senate will no longer have excuses, however misguided, against swift passage of this critical support for our ally.

The bill seeks to address US military funding needs for the buildup in operations in the Middle East after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and Israel’s subsequent military incursion in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. 

Iranian-backed groups have attacked on Red Sea shipping and American troops and allies stationed in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 7. The House proposal would provide $3.3 billion to fund the US’s response and $200 million for protection of US personnel and evacuations of US citizens.

The Pentagon is operating under a stopgap funding measure and would otherwise need emergency spending to pay for its ramp-up.

The extra funding compared to the November bill is for US military activities in the region, bill author Representative Ken Calvert of California said.

The original House bill claimed to pay for Israel aid by cutting Internal Revenue Service tax enforcement funding. Democrats said that move would have widened the US budget deficit due to revenue losses from increased tax cheating.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office also concluded the lost revenue would add more to the deficit than the IRS spending cut.

‘Dead on Arrival’

Johnson has said that a reported bipartisan border-security deal being finalized in the Senate is dead on arrival in the House. That deal, granting the president new powers to swiftly deport migrants, is to be attached to Ukraine and Israel aid and is slated to come up for procedural vote on Wednesday in the Senate.

“While the Senate appears poised to finally release text of their supplemental package after months of behind closed doors negotiations, their leadership is aware that by failing to include the House in their negotiations, they have eliminated the ability for swift consideration of any legislation," Johnson said in the letter.

--With assistance from Roxana Tiron.

(Updates with US military funding starting in fourth paragraph.)

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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Published: 04 Feb 2024, 01:30 AM IST
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