On November 2, 2023, at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, House Speaker Mike Johnson (Republican of Louisiana) spoke, and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer ( Representatives from Minnesota listened. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
[The Epoch Times, November 07, 2023](Reported by English Epoch Times reporter Joseph Lord/Compiled by Qiusheng) On November 5, amid criticism from the Senate and the White House, House Speaker Mike Johnson (Republican of Louisiana) Party member) defended the $14 billion Israel aid package approved by the House of Representatives last week.
Johnson’s proposal would provide about $14 billion in aid to Israel, while paying for it through an equal reduction in funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Such offsets are unpopular, especially among Democrats.
Last week, the House of Representatives voted 226 to 196 to approve Johnson’s proposal. The vote was largely along party lines, with a few defections from both parties. Republican congressmen Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia) and Thomas Massie (Kentucky) voted against the proposal and opposed any foreign aid. On the other side, 12 Democratic lawmakers broke party lines to support the package.
The package is expected to face greater resistance in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the Senate would not take up the bill, which he called “seriously flawed.” He has also called the proposal “not serious” on other occasions.
President Joe Biden has vowed to veto any package passed by Congress that does not provide funding for Ukraine.
Last week, National Security Council spokesman John Koh John Kirby reiterated this position.
“The president will veto the Israel-only bill,” Kirby said. “I think we made that very clear.”
Faced with these obstacles, Johnson defended his legislative proposals in a Nov. 5 interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate have said there’s no way this standalone measure will go anywhere, and the White House has said it will veto it no matter what,” show host Shannon Bream said, pointing to Schumer. comments on the proposal and reports that Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are at odds over the issue.
She asked, “So, when time is of the essence, why waste time on a measure that has little chance of actually helping the Israeli people?”
Johnson responded, “It’s really surprising that Senator Schumer said this was not a serious proposal, (because) that’s exactly what’s being asked for: $14.5 billion.”
He believes that the real reason for the Senate’s opposition to the package is that the House of Representatives is trying to offset the new spending by cutting other aspects of spending.
“What they don’t like to see is that in the House, we’re trying to be good stewards of taxpayer resources,” Johnson said. “We’re offsetting these expenses rather than printing new dollars or borrowing money from other countries… We want to provide There’s a price to pay. What a great idea!”
“We’re trying to change the way Washington operates,” he said.
Ms. Bloom also asked about the Congressional Budget Office’s assertion that the proposal would increase the deficit.
“Only in Washington can you cut funding to pay for a new spending measure that they say is bad for (reducing) the deficit,” Johnson said.
The White House insists that Congress link aid to Israel and Ukraine, a move that House Republicans have staunchly opposed.
Johnson had previously voted against almost all Ukraine aid packages as a lawmaker. Since he took the gavel, he has made clear that he is absolutely opposed to putting both aid packages on the ballot at the same time, despite President Biden’s threat to veto any separate aid package.
Instead, Johnson plans to propose separate aid packages for Israel and Ukraine.
Republicans, including Johnson, have proposed a compromise that would provide more money to Ukraine in exchange for provisions and funding to strengthen U.S.-Mexico border security.
However, the plan also faces resistance, particularly among Democrats, who accuse Republicans of inappropriately using Ukraine to force changes to U.S. border laws that would likely fail under normal circumstances.
But Johnson also defended the proposal.
“This is about advancing an agenda, and the first priority is (protecting) the American people. Securing the southern border is the first priority for the American people. So (critics) are not listening to their constituents, (and) I think they are,” he said. It’s turning a deaf ear.”
“Associating (aid to) Ukraine with border (issues) makes sense to people because they will say if we are going to protect Ukraine’s borders … we have to take care of ourselves first,” he said. border. That’s what we’re saying, (these) policy changes are necessary.”
Johnson also believes there is “growing consensus” among members of Congress from both parties on the need to improve border security.
“We have to change what’s going on,” he said. “Since Joe Biden took office, there have been more than 6.3 million people crossing the border illegally, more than the population of my state. We can’t go on like this, and everyone knows it.” “Fentanyl across the border, human trafficking, cartels making billions of dollars off us – we’re going to stop it all.”
Congress returns to Capitol Hill this week with the fate of both aid packages still up in the air.
At the same time, if lawmakers do not pass an appropriations bill or find a second stopgap measure, there is a possibility that the government will shut down after November 17.
original:Speaker Johnson Defends Israel Aid Package Amid Senate, White House CriticismPublished in the English Epoch Times.
Editor in charge: Li Lin#