Johnson Cautiously Supports Funding for Israel

( – The new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson gave his first interview since taking up the gavel and said that the US will continue to stand firmly with the State of Israel.

Appearing on Fox News, Johnson told host Sean Hannity that the House is ready to dish out at least $14.5 billion in aid for Israel, which is slightly higher than what the nation initially requested. The federal support money won’t simply be printed as part of a House appropriation bill but will derive from trade-offs of so-called “pay-fors” that are already in the budget. Johnson said that the proposed number is “very specific” and “tied to very specific measures.” He said each dollar of aid would then be offset by budget cuts somewhere else.

Johnson also addressed the US military potentially getting involved in helping Israel fight Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip and West Bank, and who launched a coordinated attack on Israel earlier this month. Johnson, who was selected by House Republicans last Wednesday as the new Speaker, said he’s hoping to avoid a situation of boots-on-the-ground.

Johnson also reminded President Joe Biden’s staff during a meeting last Thursday at the White House that the federal government’s ability to respond directly to the war in Israel is limited by congressional approval. He noted that the Founding Fathers’ vision of checks and balances was meant to establish a “multitude of wise counsel” when it comes to declaring war, a power granted to Congress rather than the executive branch.

The new Speaker also met with the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu. He said the House “stands with Israel” and that he “reaffirms” the “strong support” of Congress.

Of course, Johnson represents only one position amongst the GOP regarding the current war between Israel and Hamas. Many other Republicans are leaning toward a foreign policy that’s more isolationist, remaining consistent with their position on Ukraine.

Johnson said he can understand where they’re coming from and that he doesn’t believe the US can continue “dropping money out of helicopters” while facing over $33 trillion in debt. Despite this concern, he added that the US must continue to show support for other “nations of free people around the world,” especially US allies.

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