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US House under pressure to urgently act on ‘war-time’ aid for Israel

US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) presides over the House of Representatives at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on April 11, 2024. (Via AFP)

US House Speaker Mike Johnson has come under immense pressure to secure “war-time aids” to Israel, in the wake of Iran’s weekend retaliatory attacks against the occupied territories.

On Sunday, US President Joe Biden convened a call with Johnson and congressional leaders to address the "urgent need" for the House to approve a Republican-led support package, which has already passed the Senate and would provide $14.1 billion in aid to Israel.

"On the call, the president discussed the urgent need for the House of Representatives to pass the national security supplemental as soon as possible," the White House said in a statement.

Following the phone conversation, Johnson told Fox News that he aims to advance a bill for wartime aid to Israel this week.

"The House Republicans and the Republican Party understand the necessity of standing with Israel.”

The House speaker, who has over recent months refused to take up the Senate bill, said Sunday, “We're going to try again this week, and the details of that package are being put together right now."

"We’re looking at the options on all these supplemental issues."

Johnson is already under pressure from his fellow Republicans, who are divided in their support for a military aid package for Ukraine.

After the phone conversation with Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also said the “best” way to help Israel was to “pass the supplemental this week.”

“I’ve called on Speaker Johnson to do that,” he told reporters Sunday.

“There was a consensus on the phone among all the leaders that we had to help Israel and help Ukraine, and now hopefully we can work that out and get this done next week.”

Johnson, however, did not clarify whether he will also act on Ukraine.

Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has vowed to continue supporting Ukraine, pushed for “the national security supplemental that …will provide critical resources to Israel and our own military forces in the region.”

“The Commander-in-Chief and the Congress must discharge our fundamental duties without delay. The consequences of failure are clear, devastating, and avoidable,” said McConnell.

Citing multiple Democrats familiar with the discussions, the Washington Post reported Sunday that Democratic leadership aims to get at least 200 to sign on since some in the far-left faction will not back the legislation in opposition to funding Israel.

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