Skip to content
Sign up to receive our free weekday morning edition, and you'll never miss a scoop.
House Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)

McCaul on Israel, Netanyahu and aid

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an urgent plea for U.S. military aid to a group of lawmakers last weekend, according to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas).

“Prime Minister Netanyahu said, ‘I need ammo, ammo and ammo — yesterday,’” McCaul told us in an interview.

McCaul went to Israel last weekend with Rep. Greg Meeks (N.Y.), the top Democrat on Foreign Affairs, Reps. Max Miller (R-Ohio), Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.), Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), John James (R-Mich.) and Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.).

Netanyahu specifically requested replenishment of the Iron Dome interceptors, precision-guided weapons and 155 mm artillery shells.

“It’s urgent and it needs to happen soon,” McCaul said. “They’re a little anxious, but we reassured them that this was going to pass. It’s just going through a political process.”

Remember: Ukraine is badly in need of 155 mm shells to fight off the Russian invasion, illustrating the difficulties the Pentagon faces in supporting both allies.

McCaul also expressed skepticism over Speaker Mike Johnson’s decision to pair the $14 billion Israel aid package with an equivalent amount of cuts to IRS funding.

“I think we always need pay-fors. Just at the end of the day, I don’t see an Israel package being passed that’s not a clean Israel aid package,” McCaul, who voted for the bill, said. “I don’t really see a path where [Israel aid] can be passed with conditions on it.”

Johnson’s proposal passed the House earlier this month on a nearly party-line vote but realistically faces no chance of being considered in the Democratic-run Senate. The conditioning of aid to Israel is a new standard that Johnson set early in his speakership.

Instead, senators are likely to combine a number of national security priorities — Ukraine, Taiwan and border security — into a larger bill with Israel funding, McCaul said. President Joe Biden has sent Congress a supplemental funding request of more than $105 billion.

“It’ll probably pass the Senate the week after Thanksgiving,” McCaul said of the supplemental. But the Texas Republican said he was less clear on the outlook in the GOP-controlled House because of growing resistance to new aid for Ukraine.

“With the speaker, he’s talking about a Ukraine-border thing. And I’m not sure what he intends to do with the Israel piece,” McCaul noted.

And even McCaul’s Senate timeline seems rosy given how far apart the two parties are on border policy.

On calls for a ceasefire: McCaul said Netanyahu told him Israel supports humanitarian pauses in fighting for a number of hours each day to allow civilians to pass through the buffer zone to southern Gaza.

“But he’s very adamantly opposed to a ceasefire,” McCaul said of Netanyahu. Israeli officials won’t agree to a ceasefire unless Hamas releases the more than 200 hostages it’s holding.

And while Netanyahu acknowledged Israel’s “very existence is at stake,” McCaul said he made clear the United States was at risk too.

McCaul recounted Netanyahu saying this: “We’re the little Satan, you’re the big Satan. And they are a threat to you as well.”

— Max Cohen

Presented by The Coalition to Project American Jobs

It’s taking the IRS years to process a small business tax credit. 1M+ small business owners who filed for the Employee Retention Credit are stuck in backlog or waiting on payment for their claims. Tell the IRS to lift the moratorium now.

Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.