[Secretary of State Antony Blinken]

Conservatives plot new Israel aid plan with spending cuts after Johnson bill goes down in flames

House conservatives are exploring ways to send aid to Israel while cutting spending elsewhere after they voted down a ‘clean’ bill to fund the Middle Eastern ally on Tuesday night.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., is introducing a bill that would give $17.6 billion in military and security assistance to the U.S.’s top Middle East ally, while also pulling back $22 billion aimed toward the Department of Commerce Nonrecurring Expenses Fund.

It comes after 14 Republicans voted against a bill giving the same amount to Israel. Many, including Biggs, said they support aid to Israel but demanded that it be paid for in other federal spending cuts.

‘Israel remains America’s greatest ally and deserves to be protected from barbaric actors like Hamas,’ Biggs told Fox News Digital. ‘My legislation grants an opportunity to financially support Israel while not having to borrow money to do it. If we’re going to provide them funding, we have to get serious about defunding radical Democrat priorities.’

That $22 billion was allocated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), a bipartisan deal struck by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and President Biden to raise the debt limit last year, which conservatives opposed.

GOP hard-liners have previously called the nonrecurring expenses fund a ‘slush fund’ while attacking McCarthy and Biden for making ‘side deals’ in debt ceiling talks.

One of Louisiana Republican Mike Johnson’s first acts as the new speaker was passing a $14.3 billion aid package for Israel on the House floor. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who wanted those funds to be part of a wider supplemental funding request for Ukraine and Taiwan, rejected the bill and called its offsets a ‘poison pill.’

Biggs’ bill is called the Fiscally Responsible Israel Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2024, according to text obtained by Fox News Digital.

Like the bill put forth by Johnson, the aid would go to Israel only and includes no humanitarian funding for Gaza, something Democrats have pushed for.

It comes after Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who like Biggs is a member of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, told Fox News Digital that GOP hard-liners are discussing avenues for aiding Israel that they believe could get Republican-wide support.

‘We’re having ongoing conversations about what we need to do to stand with Israel but do it responsibly,’ Roy said.

‘Which means we’ve got to factor in paying for it, and/or dealing with UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) and all of the ridiculous things this administration is doing to fund Israel’s enemies or slow-walking munitions – [Secretary of State Antony Blinken] is undermining [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] – and/or what can we do about our own border.’

Roy added, ‘But right now, sending a blank [check], that’s not going to work. So, we’ve got to figure out a way to get something, and that’s what we’re working on.’

It comes after a $118 supplemental security aid bill, the product of monthslong bipartisan talks with the Senate and White House, failed to overcome GOP opposition despite Republican lawmakers blessing the talks. That bill would have given aid to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and Gaza as well as overhauling the U.S. asylum system.

Democrat leaders in the House and Senate are now pushing for a supplemental aid bill without the border provisions attached.

The White House issued a veto threat against Johnson’s $17.6 billion Israel aid bill despite its lack of spending offsets. Johnson called out President Biden and the majority of House Democrats who voted against his bill during comments to reporters on Wednesday.

‘The president of the United States threatened to veto … the Israel funding package. Chuck Schumer then said that he would put a blockade up in the Senate. He had 166 House Democrats who followed leader Hakeem Jeffries off that cliff. They took that lead, and they blocked the funding,’ Johnson said. ‘They’re doing it for political purposes. It’s bad for national security.’

He would not say whether he’d consider Democrats’ new supplemental aid plan.

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