House to vote on ‘clean, standalone’ Israel aid bill next week, Johnson announces

The House will vote on a “clean, standalone” Israel aid bill next week, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) announced Saturday, a reversal for the GOP conference after it approved a package for Tel Aviv last year that also included cuts to IRS funding.

The $17.6 billion Israel bill is poised to set up a showdown between the House and Senate: lawmakers in the upper chamber are preparing to vote on a national security supplemental next week that includes Israel aid and border security policy, which House GOP lawmakers have railed against.

“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 wrote in a letter to colleagues on Saturday. “Next week, we will take up and pass a clean, standalone Israel supplemental package.”

The news from Johnson comes three months after the House passed a $14.3 billion Israel aid package that included an equal amount in cuts to IRS funding  approved as part of the Democrats’ marquee spending bill, dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act. The measure came in response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

The legislation cleared the House in a largely party-line 226-196 vote but was not taken up in the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) criticized it as a “flawed proposal.”

Republicans lauded the inclusion of the IRS cuts, arguing that it would help control deficit spending. The Congressional Budget Office, however, estimated that the cuts would add billions of dollars to the federal debt. Democrats, meanwhile, had railed against the GOP’s strategy, noting that emergency funding does not usually include offsets.

“Sadly, the Democrats have refused to consider that offset to support Israel,” Johnson said on Saturday of the initial Israel aid bill.

The House’s second go at sending aid to Tel Aviv comes as the Senate is preparing to move on a long-awaited national security supplemental that includes assistance for Israel, Ukraine and Indo-Pacific allies in addition to border security policy, which has been the subject of intense negotiations for months.

Republicans had demanded any aid for Ukraine be paired with border security policy after the White House unveiled a roughly $100 billion supplemental request that included funding for Israel, Ukraine, Indo-Pacific allies and the border.

Schumer announced on Friday that the text for the supplemental would be released by the end of the weekend, and said the first procedural vote could come as soon as Wednesday.

House Republicans, however, have railed against the impending deal, and Johnson previously told colleagues that if the provisions of the agreement are what they are rumored to be, it would be dead on arrival in the lower chamber.

He re-upped that position on Saturday.

“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,” he wrote. “As I have said consistently for the past three months, the House will have to work its will on these issues and our priorities will need to be addressed.”

It is unclear if Schumer would bring the House’s Israel-only bill to the floor if it clears the lower chamber — especially as the Senate barrels towards a vote on the national security package. The Senate leader has sought to keep the contents of the supplemental together.

Johnson called on the Senate to take up the legislation on Saturday.

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

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