Primer: The Johnson Foreign Aid Supplemental Spending Package

Summary

Following Iran’s unprecedented direct attack on Israel on April 13, the House is preparing to vote on numerous foreign aid supplemental spending bills, including aid to Israel, new Ukraine spending, and supplemental spending aimed at Pacific Command and Taiwan. The reported topline spending for these measures is $95.3 billion. This package is a betrayal of the commitments Speaker Johnson made not to fund Ukraine without securing the border. The legislative blitz leverages an emboldened Iran’s aggression against a U.S. ally into an excuse to throw billions more at Ukraine, abandons a successful House-passed bill in November 2023 that paid for Israel aid through cuts to the Biden administration’s destructive IRS expansion, and includes no funding for border security.

Procedurally, the House is looking at using a special rule that would allow each of these individual spending measures to be recombined into a single package on the back end—a process known as MIRV. If utilized, this process is intended to provide House members with a “face-saving” opportunity on the individual bills and essentially turns each supplemental foreign aid bill into a show vote as the entirety of the foreign aid package will ultimately move forward as one. There can be no excuses about procedural votes being just process votes and not policy votes, the members know all of this upfront when they vote on the special rule. 

This approach is not only fiscally reckless, but also intentionally muddles what is in America’s national interest in three separate regions of the world. The House has already passed a strong Israel aid bill that the Senate refuse s to take up. Communist China remains the foremost threat to the United States. And American taxpayers have been fleeced to send nearly $100 billion in direct aid to Ukraine since February 2022, despite a prolonged war there being of dubious value to U.S. interests.

Details

On Wednesday, April 17, the House released details of the three foreign aid bills. Below are some of the line items included in each of the bills.

Ukraine

  • Total Spending: Topline spending for Ukraine is reported to be $60.8 billion (an estimated 64 percent of the total spending of these foreign aid supplementals).
  • Pay For: None
  • Line Items: The funding is broken out to include roughly $23.2 billion in the replenishment of stocks to the Department of Defense (DOD), $13.8 billion for U.S. aid for Ukraine to purchase American weapons, $11.3 billion for unspecified operations in European Command, $7.9 billion in direct subsidies to the Ukrainian government through USAID, $481 million within the Department of Health and Human Services for Ukrainian refugees, $144 million for nuclear nonproliferation operations in Ukraine, and a $26 million appropriation for the inspector general to account for the expenditure of funds.
  • Other Issues: The legislation grants the President unilateral authority to waive cost-matching limitations on USAID funding to the Ukrainian government should he deem it in the national security interests of the United States. Further, the President is given authority, pending congressional review, to cancel up to 50 percent of Ukraine’s debts concerning economic assistance after November 15, 2024, and any remaining debt can be canceled after January 1, 2026.

Israel

  • Total Spending: Topline spending for Israel is reported to be $26.4 billion (an estimated 28 percent of the total spending of these foreign aid supplementals).
  • Pay For: None*
  • Line Items: The funding is broken out to include $5.6 billion in “international disaster assistance” for “vulnerable populations,” including $3.5 billion that can be used for Palestinian refugees, roughly $4 billion for missile defense for the Iron Dome and David’s sling systems, $4 billion in the replenishment of stocks to DOD, $3.5 billion for the Foreign Military Sales program for Israel to purchase American weapons, $2.4 billion for U.S. military operations in the Middle East, $1.2 billion for Israel’s Iron Beam system, and $800 million for ammunition plant improvements.
  • Other Issues: The legislation includes $5.6 billion in international disaster assistance with wording that all but guarantees the funding will go to entities in Gaza (and possibly elsewhere) that will wind up benefitting Hamas or bolster refugee programs that may bring Palestinians directly to the United States.

*The House previously passed, H.R. 6126, which provided additional foreign aid funding to Israel through targeted cuts to the Biden administration’s IRS expansion.

Pacific Command

  • Total Spending: Topline spending for Pacific operations is reported to be $8.1 billion (an estimated 8 percent of the total spending of these foreign aid supplementals).
  • Pay For: None

Line Items: The funding is broken out to include $3.3 billion for submarine infrastructure development in the Pacific, $2 billion in Foreign Military Sales for Taiwan, $1.9 billion in the replenishment of stocks to DOD, $542 million for Pacific Command operations, and $133 million to enhance cruise missile components.

PDF: Primer: The Johnson Foreign Aid Supplemental Spending Package

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