Speaker Johnson floats stand-alone Israel aid plan after Schumer’s comments made situation ‘even more urgent’

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EXCLUSIVE: WEST VIRGINIA — Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said the House could soon consider a new stand-alone bill to aid Israel.

In an interview with Fox News Digital, the Louisiana Republican cited “the urgency of the moment” for needing a new funding package for the Middle East ally, though he said it’s in the “early” stages.

It comes hours after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., stirred outrage among Israeli supporters by calling for new elections in the country to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and equated his right-wing Israeli government to Hamas.

“There’s discussion in the last two hours about running Israel as a separate standalone because of the events of today,” Johnson said. “Frankly, Leader Schumer and his comments made the situation even more urgent.”

“There’s enough members now saying let’s just get Israel done,” he added.

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Mike Johnson, Chuck Schumer, and Benjamin Netanyahu

Speaker Mike Johnson floated the possibility that the House could consider a new stand-alone Israel aid bill. (Getty Images)

Democrats have been urging Johnson to take up the Senate’s $95 billion supplemental foreign aid package with funds for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and humanitarian support in Gaza

Johnson signaled in the past that there wasn’t enough GOP support in the House to take up the measure, but he told Fox News Digital he was “actively considering all the options with regard to the supplemental issues.”

“We will be turning our attention to it as soon as the government funding is — as soon as the text is filed, we’ll get that done,” Johnson said.

One of his first acts as speaker was putting a stand-alone $14 billion Israel aid bill on the floor, which passed along bipartisan lines. However, Schumer panned the bill as a nonstarter because it would have required the funding to be offset by cuts to IRS dollars.

Citing those concerns, Johnson passed a bill last month to give Israel $17.6 billion with no offsets, but Schumer has not taken up that bill either.

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Schumer talks foreign aid

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for new elections in Israel to replace its right-wing government. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“The second time we did … more, and, to my great surprise, I think 166 House Democrats voted against it, because the president issued a veto threat, which was just stunning, a stunning development to me,” Johnson said.

“Their stated reason was, I guess, that they wanted to make sure that it remained as part of the supplemental package. … Some time has passed since then, and the circumstances have changed markedly. And my guess is that they might be more open to consideration of that, given where we are right now and the urgency of the moment.”

He made the comments to Fox News Digital on the sidelines of the House GOP’s annual retreat, held this year at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.

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Back in Washington, Schumer took to the Senate floor Thursday morning, where he condemned both Hamas and Israel for the high death toll of Palestinians and the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza as Israel responds to the Oct. 7 attack.

He called on Palestinians to replace their leader, President Mahmoud Abbas, and for Israelis to demand a new election to elect a less “radical” government.

Netanyahu Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been criticized by progressives and leftists for his response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

“Hamas and the Palestinians who support and tolerate their evil ways, radical right-wing Israelis in government and society, President Abbas, Prime Minister Netanyahu — these are the four obstacles to peace, and if we fail to overcome them, then Israel and the West Bank and Gaza will be trapped in the same violent state of affairs they’ve experienced for the last 75 years,” Schumer said.

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“These obstacles are not the same in their culpability for the present state of affairs. But arguing over which is the worst stymies our ability to achieve peace.”

During a press conference addressing that earlier, Johnson called it “inappropriate” for “an American leader to play such a divisive role in Israeli politics, while our closest ally in the region is in an existential battle for its very survival.”

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