Fifteen Republican senators sent an intra-party letter on Sunday calling for discussion of U.S. President Joe Biden’s supplemental aid package to be delayed until after Jan. 8.
The letter to Republican Conference Chair John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), which Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) led, is one of the strongest indications to date that supplemental aid for Israel will likely be delayed into the new year.
“Rushed and secret negotiations with Democrats who want an open border and who caused the current crisis will not secure the border,” per the letter. “The American public deserves an open and transparent process which cannot occur until the House returns the week of Jan. 8, 2024. Accordingly, we request this conference be held the week of Jan. 8, but not before.”
Biden’s $106 billion supplemental foreign-aid package, which includes more than $14 billion for Israel and $61 billion for Ukraine, has been deadlocked in the Senate over Republican demands that the bill include more substantive policy reforms at the U.S. southern border.
House Republicans passed the Israel aid portion in November but offset it with cuts to the Internal Revenue Service that are non-starters in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
While most of the Israeli military aid money is focused on long-term improvements to Israel’s air-defense capabilities, it also includes $4.4 billion to reimburse the United States for short-term materiel transfers.
While the House adjourned on Thursday, the Senate has remained in session, hoping to find a breakthrough deal. The House is due to resume business on Jan. 9, after which it will also have to pass trillions of dollars in spending to avert a pair of government-shutdown deadlines on both Jan. 19 and Feb. 2.