House to vote on separate Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan bills later this week

The announcement provides a path forward in the House for funding to U.S. allies around the world, but success likely depends on Democrats’ cooperation

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House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) addresses reporters during a press conference at Mr. Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate on April 12, 2024, in Palm Beach, Florida.

The House is set to vote at the end of the week on separate Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan aid funding bills, alongside a fourth bill with other miscellaneous national security legislation, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announced on Monday.

The announcement provides a path forward in the House for funding to U.S. allies around the world after months of uncertainty, but success likely depends on Democrats’ cooperation with Johnson’s gambit. It will also slow down the provision of aid to U.S. allies, given that it will require a new, and potentially divisive, battle in the Senate.

The exact text and funding levels in the bill won’t be released until Tuesday, with a final vote expected in the House on Friday evening. The plan will likely require Democratic support at multiple stages, including on a procedural “rule” vote to bring the bills to the House floor.

The proposal appears to be satisfying many House Republicans, across a fairly wide ideological spectrum and including both supporters and opponents of Ukraine aid.

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), who joined more than 90 Democrats on a Monday morning letter calling on Johnson to call a vote on the Senate-passed Israel and Ukraine bill, said he’s satisfied with the plan.

“It shall be achieved,” Wilson told Jewish Insider. “I feel like we’re really acting… I support very much the speaker’s efforts.”

Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK), the Republican Study Committee chairman who over the weekend called for the House to pass a stand-alone Israel bill without Ukraine aid, called the plan “the right thing for [Johnson] to do  — I support him 100%.”

Rep. Max Miller (R-OH), who excoriated Johnson over a previous attempt to link Israel aid to Internal Revenue Service cuts, told JI he supports the speaker’s proposal.

“I believe the speaker is doing the very best job that he can, and has probably worked through every little different scenario imaginable,” Miller said. “If he thinks this is the best plan that can go through, then he should put it on the floor and move it quickly, which I believe he’s doing, which is responsible and the best way forward.”

But a few key House conservatives — Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) — might oppose a procedural vote in the Rules Committee needed to advance the proposed bills to the House floor, meaning the bill probably needs support from Democratic leadership.

Some Republicans are also resistant to any foreign aid bill without border security attached — a demand Johnson had echoed for months but now appears to have abandoned.

“I mean, it’s a plan. It’s something that he came out with,” Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) told JI. “The one big issue that’s going to be interesting to see is how the speaker attaches — the one big issue that we have to deal with in conference is this border security issue. That’s a huge, top priority for us.”

She said that some members have proposed options for attaching much or all of House Republicans’ hard-line border security bill to the Ukraine legislation. She said she thinks the Israel bill will pass easily, however, adding that she believes Johnson split the package up to protect Israel aid.

It’s not clear yet if humanitarian aid for Gaza — a must-have for many Democrats in order to support Israel aid — will be part of the bill; multiple Republican members said it hadn’t been discussed in detail during their private meeting on Monday night. The other legislation included in the fourth miscellaneous bill could also have significant implications for Democrats’ willingness to help move procedural votes on the bill ahead.

Republicans said there will be an amendment process on the House floor for the bill; it’s not clear what that will entail but it could provide opportunities for Democrats to push for conditions on U.S. aid to Israel and Republicans to introduce other measures that could be poison pills for Democrats.

Democrats, including a number of prominent pro-Israel lawmakers, either declined to weigh in until they saw the full bill or reacted with skepticism to the plan, continuing to push for the Senate-passed aid bill to be voted on in its original form.

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) said that “anything short of the Senate bill is a delay. It’s an unfortunate and dangerous delay. So I wish we were focused on that.” But he said he’d examine the GOP proposal.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), a senior member of Democratic leadership, called the bill an “unnecessary delay,” noting that this proposal would have to go back through the Senate “and who knows what’s going to happen once these bills go back to the Senate.”

Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) told JI, “Once you start breaking it up, it’s not a good idea,” likewise noting that the Senate bill is the fastest path to providing aid to Israel. 

Rep. Pat Ryan (R-NY) called it “a huge mistake” to separate the linked threats from Russia and Iran. “I think they’re letting partisan politics get in the middle of a really really serious national security dilemma.” But he said he’d look at the bill and emphasized the need to provide aid to Israel.

Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) said he hadn’t read the details of the proposal, but suggested he might be favorable to it.

“I’ve got to talk to leadership to figure out where they’re at,” Moskowitz said. “[Republicans] have played politics with this for six months. I would hope that my colleagues don’t play politics with it either.”

Democratic leadership hasn’t yet announced its plans.

It’s also not clear if Nonprofit Security Grant Program funding will be included, and if it is, whether it will be tied to the Israel funding bill or included in the fourth national security bill. The House-passed TikTok legislation, which faces an uncertain future in the Senate, is expected to be part of that miscellaneous bill.

The House may ultimately re-combine whichever bills it passes into one piece of legislation before sending it to the Senate, allowing the Senate to consider and vote on it as one measure, speeding up the process there. Some senators are likely to attempt to add conditions to Israel aid. 

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who has been threatening to seek Johnson’s ouster if he allows a vote on Ukraine aid, emerged furious from a GOP meeting about the bill, calling it a “scam,” while also not publicly committing to seeking Johnson’s ouster. 

The bill is drawing skeptical reaction among senators who supported the Senate-passed aid package.

“I’d have to look at what he’s planning and what the content of the bills are. This seems totally unnecessary,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) told JI. “He [Johnson] is so much safer than he thinks he is. He’ll survive a motion to vacate. He should do the right thing, which is to take a vote on the Senate bill. I mean, he continues to play with fire. But obviously, it seems like there’s a new plan every 24 hours. I haven’t looked at what this package is.”

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) suggested that he’d rather see the House take up the Senate bill as the fastest way to approve aid.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who opposed the original Senate bill, seemed favorable to the House’s approach.

“We’ll see what happens, obviously. We’re going to have to move here irrespective of what happens in the House,” Rubio said. “Hopefully, we’re passing the House bill, but if it’s something different they send over, we’ll have to deal with it then. And if they don’t act, we need to be in a position to send something over. “

Outside groups with ties to conservatives are urging prompt movement on any form of supplemental aid that can pass the House and Senate and receive a presidential signature.

Christians United for Israel Action Fund’s chairwoman, Sandra Parker, who has been critical of House members who’ve been holding up consideration of the supplemental, spoke to JI minutes after Johnson announced the proposal to House Republicans.

“Our message is simple. It’s that Israel needs our aid now. They needed it six months ago. After Saturday, they need it now more than ever,” Parker told JI, referring to the massive Iranian attack on Israel. “And we need to put any type of partisan score settling — whatever it is [or] a renewed interest in domestic policy matters — we need to put it all aside, we need to we need to put those things down and we need to all come together on this issue.”

Parker said she’s hopeful the weekend’s events will convince lawmakers to come together to pass aid to Israel and send a message both to Israel and to Iran and its proxies. She also said she’s waiting to see the details of Johnson’s plan. CUFI is holding a prescheduled advocacy push in Washington this week.

“The time for governance is now, and you need to let leaders lead,” Parker continued. “And that does not include threatening to upend leadership because they have the temerity to reach across the aisle in order to get things done. And that message is going to be clear and unequivocal and unchanged.”

Speaking to JI before the House GOP announcement, Republican Jewish Coalition CEO Matt Brooks urged prompt action on some version of aid to Israel.

“Find something that everybody can agree on, that president will sign, and get it done,” Brooks told JI. “Whether that ultimately is a stand-alone supplemental Israeli bill, I don’t know. Whether it’s some version or iteration of the Senate bill with [other attached issues], I don’t know. Ultimately, congressional leadership is going to have to figure out what it is that both the House and the Senate can get approved, and then something the president will sign.”

The RJC on Sunday issued a rare bipartisan statement with Democratic Majority for Israel urging action on a bipartisan basis. Brooks said that Israel was already “in dire need” of munitions and air-defense interceptors, and that the weekend attack increased the sense of urgency.

Brooks added that RJC has been telling lawmakers that “nobody is going to get” everything they want on the aid bill. ”Nobody’s going to be happy, nobody’s going to get everything they want, but let’s get close to everything that everybody agrees on and get it done,” Brooks said

He added that, while RJC strongly supports aid to Ukraine, its priority is passing Israel aid, in whatever form that requires, whether tied to or separate from other foreign aid issues.

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