The House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would send military aid to Israel during its conflict with Hamas, which will be funded by cuts to funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2024 would provide funds to the Department of Defense to replace equipment provided to Israel as military aid, fund research for new air defense systems that are being developed by Israel, such as the Iron Beam aerial laser program, and fund the Department of State’s programs to evacuate U.S. citizens from the region as well as protect U.S. diplomatic missions under new threats due to the conflict. The bill was passed by a vote of 226 yeas to 196 nays, with most Democrats voting against the bill.
“House Republicans are bringing forward a bill to ensure Israel has what it needs to defend itself as it fights to eliminate the threat from Hamas,” wrote House Majority Steve Scalise in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation ahead of the vote. “Israel has every right to defend itself against such heinous actions, and we must stand with them in their fight against our shared enemies for self-determination, democracy, and freedom.”
The bill was introduced by Republican Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, along with 100 other Republican co-sponsors. It has been strongly opposed by Senate Democrats, with Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray tweeting that “[t]he House GOP’s bill is dead on arrival” in the upper chamber, and the Biden administration stating that President Joe Biden would veto the bill if presented to him.
Biden had previously proposed a supplemental appropriations bill worth over $100 billion to fund aid not only to Israel but also to Ukraine during its war against Russia as well as provide funds for border security and immigration processing at the U.S. border with Mexico. That request was widely criticized by House Republicans, who indicated that the proposal would not receive support in their chamber, where they hold a majority.
A nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) review of the bill’s budgetary effects estimated that it would increase the fiscal deficit by nearly $12.5 billion over ten years until 2033. The CBO noted that funds cut from the IRS are intended to support enforcement actions against delinquent taxpayers, which “would result in fewer enforcement actions over the next decade and in a reduction in revenue collections,” according to the office’s report to Congress.
“Speaker Johnson and House Republicans released a totally unserious and woefully inadequate package that omitted aid to Ukraine, omitted humanitarian assistance to Gaza, had no funding for the Indo-Pacific, and made funding for Israel conditional on hard-right, never-going-to-pass proposals. What a joke,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday.
National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Will Reinart criticized Democrats in a statement to the DCNF for opposing the bill “as terrorists continue their barbaric attacks.”
Ahead of the bill’s consideration by the House, several House Republicans indicated to the DCNF that they would not have voted for a bill providing military aid unless it was offset by corresponding spending cuts.
“We are in the worst fiscal crisis our country has ever faced,” said Republican Rep. Bob Good of Virginia to the DCNF. “We ought to require offsets, cuts to … the IRS expansion in order to fund [the bill]. We shouldn’t be borrowing from China, borrowing from our kids’ and grandkids’ future to fund the Israeli funding. Even though it’s good policy, we literally don’t have the money.”
“We need to have the offsets,” Good said when pressed on whether he’d support a bill to aid Israel without offsetting cuts. This point was echoed by Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.
“Funding for many of those things needs to be offset because we are running trillion-dollar deficits at this point,” Perry told the DCNF. “Since the president refuses to be the adult in the room … that’s going to be the House of Representatives,” he added.
“I do not believe we should write another blank check to anyone, including ourselves, we must pay for it. And the American people must see that it’s going to cause something if we’re going to give another $14 billion to Israel,” said Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas in comments shared with the DCNF. “If you see me in the end having to vote against Israel funding, just make sure you heard it here first, right? I support Israel. But I am not going to continue to go down this road where we bankrupt our country.”
Schumer and the Israeli Mission to the United States did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Mike Johnson will NOT consider a spending bill for Israel that doesn’t include other spending cuts.
This is what testicular fortitude looks like. pic.twitter.com/k5u87TsfjF
— Joey Mannarino (@JoeyMannarinoUS) November 2, 2023
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