US House speaker announces plan for separate bills aiding Israel, Ukraine

The US House of Representatives will consider aid to Israel and Ukraine as separate legislation this week, Republican Speaker Mike Johnson says, rejecting pressure to simply approve a package sent over by the Senate that includes spending for both allies.

Leaving a meeting of House Republicans on Monday evening, Johnson said the narrowly divided chamber will consider four bills altogether that would also include aid to Taiwan, US allies in the Indo-Pacific and US national security priorities.

Facing an outright rebellion from conservatives fiercely opposed to aiding Ukraine, Johnson told the meeting he would push to get the package to the House floor under a single debate rule, then hold separate votes on aid for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and the other foreign policy proposals, according to Republican lawmakers.

“We know that the world is watching us to see how we react,” Johnson tells reporters. “They’re watching to see if America will stand up for its allies and in our own interest around the globe. And we will.”

The GOP meeting was filled with lawmakers at odds in their approach to Ukraine: Republican defense hawks, including the top lawmakers on national security committees, who want Johnson to finally take up the national security supplemental package as a bundle, are pitted against populist conservatives who are fiercely opposed to continued support for Kyiv’s fight at all.

“The House must rush to Israel’s aid as quickly as humanly possible, and the only way to do that is passing the Senate’s supplemental ASAP,” says Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The White House would oppose a standalone bill that only addressed aid for Israel, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said earlier.

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries pledges in a letter to lawmakers to do “everything in our legislative power to confront aggression” around the globe.

“The gravely serious events of this past weekend in the Middle East and Eastern Europe underscore the need for Congress to act immediately,” Jeffries says. “We must take up the bipartisan and comprehensive national security bill passed by the Senate forthwith. This is a Churchill or Chamberlain moment.”

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