Conservative backlash to Israel aid bill could force Johnson to seek Democrat support again

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House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is preparing to bring a stand-alone Israel aid bill for a House vote on Tuesday, three sources told Fox News Digital, but early opposition from his right flank could already force the Republican leader to seek help from Democrats to pass it.

Johnson announced over the weekend that he intends to pass legislation to send $17.6 billion to Israel as it fights a war against Hamas. 

But GOP hardliners have already come out against it, which could force House leaders to fast-track the bill to the floor via suspension of the rules. 

It would bypass a procedural hurdle known as a rule vote in exchange for raising the threshold for passage to two-thirds of the chamber rather than a simple majority.

‘Congress can pay for Israel aid by cutting funding for the United Nations, repealing the IRS expansion, rescinding the Department of Commerce ‘slush fund’ or ending leftist climate change tax credits,’ House Freedom Caucus leaders said on Sunday. ‘Conservatives should not be forced to choose between borrowing money to support our special friend Israel or honoring our commitment to end unpaid supplemental spending that exacerbate our nation’s unsustainable fiscal crisis and further risks our ability to respond to future crises.’

Rule votes would traditionally fall across party lines; even lawmakers who oppose the legislation itself would vote along with their leadership to pass the rule. But it’s been weaponized several times during the 118th Congress by GOP factions that have deliberately sunk bills in protest of how Republican leaders are handling matters, even those unrelated to the legislation they’re voting on.

Putting up the Israel aid bill under suspension – which two GOP aides told Fox News Digital they anticipate is likely – would make Democrat support critical to its passage. 

Johnson has used suspension to pass several critical pieces of legislation this year, most recently including a bipartisan, bicameral tax bill. 

Making the situation trickier this time, however, is the Senate’s intent to vote on a $118 billion security agreement that includes a border security overhaul and, among other things, funding for Israel. 

That bill, which is backed by the White House and Senate leaders on both sides, is expected to get a vote on Wednesday.

The White House threatened to veto Johnson’s Israel bill on Monday evening, a move the speaker called ‘an act of betrayal’ – but one that could give more Democrats cover to vote against it.

And House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., blasted Johnson’s bill and accused him of trying to kneecap the Senate deal on former President Trump’s behalf. 

Johnson has repeatedly denied following Trump’s orders, but the former president does vocally oppose the bill.

Jeffries called Johnson’s Israel aid proposal ‘a cynical attempt to undermine the Senate’s bipartisan effort, given that House Republicans have been ordered by the former president not to pass any border security legislation or assistance for Ukraine.’

But at least two Democrats – Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., who are both Jewish – have said they would vote in favor of the Israel aid bill on principle, but they criticized Johnson for decoupling it from the wider supplemental funding bill and for not including humanitarian aid for Gaza.

Pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC also came out in support of the bill on Monday, writing on X, ‘We urge the House to pass this lifesaving aid package to ensure Israel can win its war against Hamas and protect its families.’

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations announced Monday night that it’s endorsing both Johnson’s bill and the Senate deal, which includes roughly $14 billion for Israel.

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