WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans will move forward with a $17.6 billion package next week that provides military aid to Israel and replenish U.S. weapons, but leaves out more help for Ukraine, underscoring the challenges facing supporters of a comprehensive national security package that would also include billions of dollars for immigration enforcement.
The move gives Speaker Mike Johnson and House Republicans the chance to show support for Israel even though there is little chance the Senate will go along. Meanwhile, text of a broader Senate compromise is expected to be released this weekend and a key test vote on that package will be held during the week.
Johnson said that Senate leadership is aware that by failing to include the House in their negotiations, they have eliminated the ability for swift consideration of any legislation.
“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,” Johnson said in a letter to colleagues.
The House has already approved a nearly $14.5 billion military aid package in November for Israel that the Senate declined to take up. Republicans also insisted it be paid for with cuts elsewhere. The bill targeted the Internal Revenue Service for cuts, though the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said doing so would end up costing the federal government a net $12.5 billion because of lost revenue from tax collections.
The tactic of including IRS cuts also turned it into a more partisan, 226-196 vote. Johnson said in his letter to colleagues that removing the offsets should allow for swift passage of the Israel aid.
“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,” Johnson said. “The Senate will no longer have excuses, however misguided, against swift passage of this critical support for our ally.”
Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., released the text of the military assistance bill for Israel. It would provide $4 billion to replenish missile defense systems and $1.2 billion to counter short-range rockets and mortar threats. There’s also funding for the procurement of advanced weapons system and to enhance the production of artillery and other munitions.
To ensure the support does not compromise U.S. readiness, it includes $4.4 billion to replenish U.S. stocks of weapons provided to Israel. There’s also $3.3 billion for current U.S. military operations in the region.