Tuesday, March 5

Israel-Hamas War Live: US Strikes Iran-Backed Houthi Cruise Missile

Speaker Mike Johnson said the Senate package would be dead as soon as it arrived in the House.Credit…Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Speaker Mike Johnson vowed Saturday that the House would vote next week on legislation to fast-track $17.6 billion in security aid to Israel without any strings attached, a move likely to complicate efforts by House leaders. Senate to rally support for a broader set of border security measures. and aid to Ukraine.

Mr. Johnson’s announcement to members of his conference comes as senators scramble to finalize and vote on a bipartisan national security bill that took months to negotiate. The move could further erode Republican Party support for the new compromise, which was already faltering under criticism from party leaders like Mr. Johnson and former President Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, said the Senate package would be dead upon reaching the House, arguing that border security measures are not tough enough to quell a recent immigration surge. He said the House would instead focus its efforts on impeaching Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the Homeland Security secretary — a vote on which is now expected to take place next week.

In a letter to his members on Saturday, he said the House would also prioritize its own approach to helping Israel’s war effort against Hamas, regardless of related legislation the Senate might produce, if applicable.

“Their leaders are aware that by failing to include the House in their negotiations, they have eliminated the possibility of rapid review of any legislation,” Mr. Johnson wrote, adding that “the House will need to demonstrate its will on these issues and our priorities will need to be addressed.

Senate negotiators have been working on a sweeping national security funding bill to meet Republican demands that any legislation sending military aid to Ukraine would also significantly improve security on the southern border with Mexico. The emerging legislation, which includes measures making it harder to seek asylum and increasing detentions and deportations, would also send more military aid to Ukraine and Israel, dedicate humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza and fund efforts to counter Chinese threats against India. Pacific region.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and majority leader, announced this week that the Senate would vote no later than Wednesday on whether to take up the bill, which negotiators are expected to release no later than Sunday.

But the measure already faces stiff challenges from Senate Republicans who think the border control provisions should be stricter, as well as those who are reluctant to vote politically for a bill that is almost guaranteed to die on the doorstep of the Republican Party-led House. .

Several Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives have called for a divided approach that would address Israel’s war effort separately from Ukraine and its border. Late last year, the Democratic-led Senate rejected a Republican Party attempt to impose a vote on a previous bill on aid to Israel this was supported by the House. Democrats objected to the way the House GOP’s bill sought to finance the funds, through cuts to the Internal Revenue Service.

In his letter on Saturday, Mr. Johnson acknowledged this history.

“Democrats have made clear that their main objection to the original House bill is its counterparts,” he wrote, adding that with the new Israel package, “the Senate will no longer have excuses , however misguided, against the rapid adoption of this critical support for “our ally.”

The new bill, which was unveiled by House managers, is larger than the House’s previous Israeli measure, which amounted to $14.3 billion. President Biden had requested this amount for Israel as part of a broader request he made in October for additional funds to address various global crises, including in Ukraine.

But it does not include any funding for humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, which many Democrats say must accompany any military aid to Israel. Several left-wing Democrats are also pushing for conditions to be attached to any military aid approved by Congress for Israel, to ensure that U.S.-supplied weapons are used in accordance with international law and that aid deliveries to Palestinian civilians are not hindered.

The $17.6 billion House measure would dedicate $4 billion to rebuilding Israel’s missile defense systems known as Iron Dome and David’s Sling, as well as $1.2 billion to counter the short-range rocket and mortar attacks. An additional $8.9 billion would be used to provide Israel with weapons and related services, help it produce its own defense stockpile, and replenish the defense stockpile the United States has already provided; while $3.5 billion would be used to support U.S. military operations, embassy security and evacuation efforts of U.S. citizens in the region.