House Democrat calls Johnson’s Israel standalone aid bill ‘act of staggering bad faith’

A House Democrat labeled Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) standalone bill on funding for Israel an “act of staggering bad faith” on Sunday.

“Well, the move he has taken to offer an Israel-only deal is very dirty pool. It’s an act of staggering bad faith,” Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Johnson announced Saturday that the House would vote on a “clean, standalone” $17.6 billion Israel aid bill this coming week. This comes as bipartisan Senate negotiators are rushing to reach an agreement on a potential border security package that could unlock funding for Ukraine if passed.

Himes said that a standalone bill to approve aid for Israel will allow Johnson to “ultimately not do a border deal,” suggesting that some Republicans would rather leave the border issue until November’s elections. Former President Trump has voiced his opposition to a potential border deal, but Johnson emphasized on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the former president “is not calling the shots.”

“So as much as it is important for us to provide aid to Israel, this is the first step in getting aid to Israel at the expense of any aid to Ukraine and at the expense of a generally — a generational opportunity to actually get a border immigration deal done,” he said.

The White House also blasted Johnson’s move to put forward an Israel-only bill in a statement released Saturday.

“For months the administration has been working with a bipartisan group of Senators on a national security agreement that secures our border and provides support for the people of Ukraine and Israel,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

“Just as legislative text is imminent, the House Republicans come up with their latest cynical political maneuver. The security of Israel should be sacred, not a political game,” she said.

Johnson said on “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he has not been briefed on the bipartisan Senate discussions on the border yet. Johnson appeared to contradict himself Sunday, arguing that President Biden already has the authority needed to act on the border while also saying further legislation is needed.

The White House criticized his comments on “Meet the Press,” with a spokesperson saying Sunday that Johnson “continued to tie himself in knots” over his remarks on the border.

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