update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

House changes legislative calendar to focus on Israel, Iran

The U.S. House of Representatives “stands strongly with Israel, and there must be consequences for this unprovoked attack,” stated House Majority Leader Steve Scalise.

The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Credit: pogo_mm/Pixabay.
The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Credit: pogo_mm/Pixabay.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) said on Saturday evening that the chamber’s schedule will see major changes this week following Iran’s attack on Israel.

“In light of Iran’s unjustified attack on Israel, the House will move from its previously announced legislative schedule next week to instead consider legislation that supports our ally Israel, and holds Iran and its terrorist proxies accountable,” the Louisiana Republican, wrote.

He added that the House “stands strongly with Israel, and there must be consequences for this unprovoked attack.”

Scalise told Fox News on Saturday that it was not yet clear if the House would focus on an Israel-only aid package or a broader foreign aid bill, including Ukraine and Taiwan.

He said an Israel-only bill was a distinct possibility, but House members must figure out what can pass.

A $95 billion supplemental foreign aid bill, including $14 billion for Israel, $60 billion for Ukraine and support for Taiwan, along with billions of dollars in humanitarian assistance, passed the Senate in February, with 70% support.

But House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has refused to take up the bill so far, insisting the House will steer its own course. 

The House passed a $14.3 billion Israel aid supplemental in November but used an offset to strip the Internal Revenue Service of the same amount, tainting the bill for Democrats. It was never taken up in the Senate. 

A discharge petition, which would force a vote in the House on the Senate’s foreign aid bill, has collected a significant amount of Democratic signatures, but only one Republican thus far. It needs a majority of House members to sign on to bring a vote to the floor.

“As Israel faces this vicious attack from Iran, America must show our full resolve to stand with our critical ally. The world must be assured: Israel is not alone,” Johnson wrote on Saturday night. “I will continue to engage with the White House to insist upon a proper response. The Biden administration’s undermining of Israel and appeasement of Iran have contributed to these terrible developments.” He did not mention the bill.

On Saturday, House members and senators urged House leadership to take up Israel aid legislation immediately following Iran’s attacks.

Aid of any kind to Israel reflexively faces opposition from several House Democrats.

Scalise also said on Saturday that the House is considering other bills to show support for Israel, including a resolution condemning antisemitism and calls for an Israel-Hamas ceasefire, and resolutions condemning Iran.

The new calendar will replace a largely message-laden week, including action on the Refrigerator Freedom Act, Liberty in Laundry Act and Hands Off Our Home Appliances Act.

Hundreds of House members from both sides of the aisle sent messages of support for Israel on Saturday.

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