House Republicans on Thursday passed their version of a $14.3 billion aid package for Israel, which apparently needs the money in its war with Hamas. The bill proposes to make an equivalent $14.3 billion cut to IRS funding in order to offset the expense.
It will next head to the Senate where there’s a 99% chance it dies a swift death, and a 1% chance the Democrat-controlled chamber will pretend to debate over it, just killing it more slowly.
The measure was passed by a vote of 226 to 196, along party lines.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that the “deeply flawed proposal” wouldn’t even be taken up by the chamber. Instead, Schumer has vowed to work with senators on both sides of the aisle on a package that would give US tax dollars to Israel, Ukraine, humanitarian aid for Gaza, and competition with the Chinese government (whatever that means), The Hill reports.
The Biden administration, meanwhile, says it would veto the House’s bill even if it passed through the Senate, saying that it’s “bad for Israel, for the Middle East region, and for our own national security.” (which they suddenly care about?)
By linking support for Israel with reductions in IRS spending, Johnson extends an olive branch to the conservative wing of his party, wary of deficits and foreign expenditure.
That said, it’s not enough for Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) who opposed the measure – citing the overreach of U.S. involvement in foreign affairs and the fiscal burden on American taxpayers.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KW) – who really loves sending US taxpayer money abroad (particularly if it helps things explode) opposes the House’s bill, and is in lockstep with Schumer on aid for Israel and Ukraine at the same time. In contrast, Johnson, as newly minted speaker, has made clear his intentions to separate the two, and instead wants to couple future support for Kyiv with heightened U.S. border security measures.
From the Oval Office, President Biden is pushing for a comprehensive $106 billion emergency aid package, encompassing support for Israel and Ukraine, alongside border security and Indo-Pacific allies. However, increasing GOP reluctance over funding for Ukraine and the aversion to intertwining the fates of these two allies have driven House GOP leaders to pursue a standalone Israel aid bill.
Anyway, on to its execution.