House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is hitting back at the Democrat-controlled Senate for criticizing the House GOP’s standalone bill to aid Israel.
Republican leaders released the text of the emergency aid legislation Monday, which includes just over $14 billion for Israel in its war against terror group Hamas. That money would be offset by siphoning funds from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act – specifically, dollars allocated toward the IRS.
‘If you ask people at the Pentagon, under oath or in a moment of truth, they will tell you the greatest threat to our national security is our own debt,’ Johnson told Fox News Digital in an interview Tuesday.
‘It is in our national interest to support our great ally and friend Israel in their time of need. But we also have to keep our focus on our own financial stability. And so those things must happen simultaneously.’
The bill separates Israel aid from Biden’s original request for $106 billion in supplemental aid, which also includes money for Ukraine and the southern border.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., criticized Johnson’s bill on the Senate floor Tuesday. Schumer called the package ‘woefully inadequate’ and denounced its offset provisions as ‘poison pills that increase the deficit and help wealthy tax cheats avoid paying their fair share.’
‘I would refer Sen. Schumer and anyone else who’s a critic of this to the Treasury report that came out this week that indicates that we’re going to have to borrow $1.6 trillion for the next six months to get the government in operation,’ Johnson responded in an interview Wednesday.
‘To suggest that it is a poison pill to have a pay-for in [$14.3 billion] overseas, is, I’m sorry, I just think that’s something that does not line up with reality. And I think the American people largely agree with us. And so I’m ready to have that debate.’
Johnson said the House would vote on the Israel aid bill Thursday or Friday.
It’s not immediately clear if it will get past the Senate and White House. Secretary of State Antony Blinken paid Johnson a visit Tuesday after defending Biden’s supplemental request in a meeting earlier that day.
‘I explained to him the reality of the House Republican majority, that it’s important to our members that these issues be addressed separately,’ Johnson said without going into detail on the meeting.
‘It does not mean that there’s not a resolve here to handle all of our obligations, but we want to do it in a very deliberate manner that is financially responsible,’ he added. ‘And I don’t think that’s much to ask. And, in fact, I think we owe that as a duty to the people we represent.’