Vance, Hern call for ‘clean, un-offset’ Israel aid bill

Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio) and Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) urged Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Wednesday to move forward on a bill that provides aid for Israel without offsetting funding elsewhere.

“For months, Senate leadership has attempted to trade Ukraine aid for a bill that would secure America’s border,” the lawmakers said in a statement. “If news reports are in any way accurate, that border negotiation is a complete policy failure. It’s time to address the issues that unite Republicans, not divide them.”

“We commend the Speaker for standing firm against this bad border deal, and urge him to put a clean, un-offset Israel bill on the floor of the House immediately,” they continued. “Let’s put an end to House and Senate Democrats’ political games on Israel.”

The calls come as tenuous Senate negotiations over a border security bill — which is part of a larger spending supplemental that also includes aid for Ukraine and Israel — has come under increased GOP scrutiny, throwing the future of the entire package into doubt.

They also come after House Republicans last year passed a bill that would provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel but would offset that spending with identical cuts to IRS funding. The Congressional Budget Office said that plan would increase the deficit by $26 billion. Democrats slammed the measure, and President Biden committed to vetoing the bill, if passed.

Johnson said last week that the border bill would be “dead on arrival” in the House if it passes the Senate. He said its provisions don’t go far enough.

Some Democrats have pushed back on further aid for Israel, citing mass civilian casualties in the Israel-Hamas war. More than a dozen Senate Democrats have proposed adding conditions to aid bound for Israel.

Vance and Hern’s proposal also appears to abandon the remaining portions of the foreign aid package promised in exchange for the border security bill. That package includes aid for Ukraine, Taiwan and other foreign policy priorities of the Biden administration.

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