A House Democrat on Sunday called House Speaker Mike Johnson's (R-LA) standalone bill on Israel funding “an act of astonishing bad faith.”
“Well, the move he took to offer a deal only to Israel is a very dirty package. “It's an act of astonishing bad faith,” Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) said on CBS' “Face the Nation.”
Johnson announced on Saturday that the House of Representatives would vote on a “clean, independent” $17.6 billion aid bill for Israel this week. It comes as bipartisan negotiators in the Senate rush to reach an agreement on a potential border security package that could unlock funding for Ukraine if passed.
Himes said a standalone bill to approve aid to Israel would allow Johnson “to ultimately not make a border deal,” suggesting that some Republicans prefer to leave the border issue until the November election. Former President Trump has expressed opposition to a potential border deal, but Johnson emphasized on NBC's “Meet the Press” that the former president “doesn't make the decisions.”
“So, as important as it is for us to get aid to Israel, this is the first step in getting aid to Israel at the expense of any aid to Ukraine and at the expense of — a generational opportunity to actually get on the border.” He said that the immigration agreement had been reached.
The White House also criticized Johnson's move to introduce an Israel-only bill in a statement issued on Saturday.
“For months, the administration has been working with a bipartisan group of senators on a national security agreement that secures our borders and provides support for the people of Ukraine and Israel,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
“At a time when legislative text is imminent, House Republicans are coming up with their latest cynical political maneuver. “Israel’s security must be sacred, not a political game,” she added.
Johnson said on “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he had not been briefed on the bipartisan Senate discussions on borders yet. Johnson appeared to contradict himself on Sunday, claiming that President Biden already has the authority to act on the border, while also saying more legislation is needed.
The White House criticized his comments on “Meet the Press,” with a spokesman saying Sunday that Johnson “continued to associate himself” with his comments on the border.
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