“We are going to move a stand-alone Israeli funding bill,” said Johnson during an appearance on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures. Johnson picked up the speaker’s gavel this week after the ouster of former GOP speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Israel has launched an offensive against Gaza following the Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7 and the ongoing hostage crisis. “We believe that that is a pressing and urging need,” Johnson said of funding for Israel. “There are lots of things going on around the world that we have to address, and we will, but right now what’s happening in Israel takes the immediate attention, and I think we’ve got to separate that to get it through. I believe there will be bipartisan support for that, and I’m going to push very hard for it.”
Johnson has earned an “F” rating from the Republicans for Ukraine advocacy group for voting repeatedly against sending funding to help combat Russia’s aggression, although he has made pro-Ukraine statements and did vote to allow the lending and lease of American defense equipment to Ukraine in 2022.
Last week during an interview with Sean Hannity, Johnson signaled that there is still hope for Ukraine funding — eventually. “We can’t allow Vladimir Putin to prevail in Ukraine, because I don’t believe it would stop there, and it would probably encourage and empower China to perhaps make a move on Taiwan,” Johnson said during the interview that aired Thursday. “We have these concerns. We’re not going to abandon them.”
President Biden has requested $61 billion to arm Ukraine against Russia and $14 billion for Israel, which already has a much better equipped military defense. “The difference here is that Israel has a very advanced military, a very Western style military already. So the needs writ large are different between what Israel is asking for and what Ukraine is asking for,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said on Thursday to explain the difference in requested aid.
The White House last week announced a $150 million security assistance package to support Ukraine’s urgent security needs, which Ryder said would include “air defense capabilities, artillery, ammunition, antitank weapons and other important aid to help Ukraine counter Russia’s ongoing aggression and continue its fight for independence and freedom.”
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky is participating in a third round of peace talks taking place in Malta, pushing his 10-point plan to end the war, which includes Russia withdrawing all troops from Ukraine and returning the territory of Crimea, which it annexed in 2014. Although 66 nations are taking part in the talks, Russia is absent. Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the event “blatantly anti-Russia.”
“The world is not a place for aggression,” Zelensky said in a video message this weekend. “Humanity will come to this understanding. This is the only way to protect life.”