Democrats cool to another Israel stand-alone aid bill and sound alarm on Ukraine – Washington Examiner

House Democrats are pumping the brakes on any path forward for an Israel stand-alone aid bill, an idea floated by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) last week in response to comments from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and instead are calling on Republicans to take Ukraine aid seriously.

After Schumer called for new elections in the Jewish state, Johnson said he is considering bringing another clean, stand-alone bill to the House floor despite a failure to pass one in February. Considering he would likely bring the bill up under suspension, it would require a two-thirds majority and all but assures that the measure would require Democratic support.

However, some members of the Democratic conference are adamant that if Republicans want to see Democratic caucus support for Israel funding, they’ll need to see movement on Ukraine aid first, which they believe is “more urgent” considering the House enters a two-week recess beginning next week.

“We know they’re running out of equipment by the end of April,” said Rules Committee ranking member Jim McGovern (D-MA), whose discharge petition to bring the Senate’s bipartisan foreign aid bill for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan to the House floor went live last week.

“On Ukraine, time isn’t only running out, time has run out,” McGovern added. “So, that fact that we’re going home for two weeks and not doing anything on Ukraine really is unconscionable.” 

Democrats continue to call on Johnson to bring the Senate’s supplemental bill to the floor, which House GOP leaders have previously declared as dead on arrival due to its lack of border security measures. Many Republicans have expressed that they will not vote for Ukraine aid without provisions for protections at the southern border, likely sinking chances of a Ukraine aid-only bill passing on the House floor given the GOP’s narrow majority.

Several members dodged the question when asked if Republicans had reached out about a stand-alone Israel bill. When asked if there was a path forward for Israel aid, Rep. Becca Balint (D-VT) said the Democratic caucus is “very much focused on Ukraine aid” and blasted Republicans for dragging their feet.

“The throughline through all of this is incredible frustration with Republicans stalling Ukraine aid,” Balint said, agreeing that there is exasperation toward Republicans for ignoring Ukraine aid for “so long” while turning around and calling for assistance to Israel. 

“It’s so irresponsible,” Balint added. “This is a win for Putin every single day that they go by and sit on their hands. It’s maddening. So, that is where the caucus is, right now.”

McGovern said he is fine with splitting aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan into stand-alone bills if it gets the job done, but he said members have no clarity on what Johnson is going to bring to the floor and when.

“However he wants to bring this thing up, just bring the goddamn thing up,” McGovern said. “People can vote however they want to vote. People don’t want to vote for Ukraine, they can vote no. People don’t want to vote for Israel, they can vote no.”

While Democrats are more united in supporting Ukraine, the conference has split over aid to Israel in its war against Hamas, particularly when it comes to the conflict’s impact on Palestinian citizens in Gaza and support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Wednesday, Johnson confirmed to reporters that House Republicans are considering inviting Netanyahu to speak before Congress, another response to Schumer’s remarks and a sign the GOP conference is focused more on aiding Israel than other foreign allies at this time.

“I think it’s very important for us to show solidarity and support with Israel right now in their time of great struggle, and we certainly stand for that position, and we’ll try to advance that in every way that we can,” the speaker said.

McGovern said he disagrees with House GOP calls to invite Netanyahu to Capitol Hill, calling the prime minister a “very divisive figure.”

During a leadership press conference on Wednesday, Democratic Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar (D-CA) said the only way to help allies in Israel and Ukraine is to bring legislation like the Senate’s, which includes humanitarian aid, to the House floor.


“That should be the priority of the House,” Aguilar said. “The speaker said, and the leader has reflected this, that the House should work its will. He hasn’t said the Republican conference should work its will.”

“We’re confident that the votes are there for this national security supplemental if he is willing to put the bill on the floor,” Aguilar added, referring to Johnson. “That’s what he should do if he’s truly interested in the House working its will.”