US House Republicans Plan to Give Israel $14.3bn by Cutting IRS Funds – On Monday, Republicans in the US House of Representatives introduced a proposal to allocate $14.3 billion in assistance to Israel by reducing the budget for the Internal Revenue Service, leading to a potential clash with Senate Democrats who hold the majority.
This move, one of the initial significant policy decisions during the tenure of the new House speaker, Mike Johnson, involves the presentation of a distinct supplementary spending bill exclusively for Israel. Notably, this contrasts with President Joe Biden’s appeal for a $106 billion comprehensive package encompassing support for Israel, Ukraine, and border security.
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Johnson, who cast his vote against providing aid to Ukraine prior to assuming the role of House speaker last week, expressed his preference for the separate handling of assistance to Israel and Ukraine. His rationale behind this is to ensure enhanced accountability for the financial support that has been directed towards the Kyiv government in its battle against Russian forces.
In response, Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, expressed optimism on Monday, believing that the House of Representatives would support a request for additional funding to bolster Ukraine’s military efforts. ‘The main thing is the outcome – are there enough votes or not?” Kuleba told Ukrainian national television.
“And at the moment we have every reason to believe that there are votes in the US House of Representatives for the bill providing Ukraine with additional support.” Kuleba said he was aware of “considerable political resistance” to the bill’s provisions and that it would be a “sin” for US lawmakers not to use the legislation to further their own interests.
“Israel is a separate matter,” Johnson said in an interview on Fox News last week, describing his desire to “bifurcate” the Ukraine and Israel funding issues. Johnson has emphasized that prioritizing increased support for Israel should be the primary focus of the U.S. national security agenda, especially in the wake of the October 7th attack by Hamas, which resulted in the loss of over 1,400 lives and the abduction of more than 200 individuals.
In response, Democrats accused Republicans of obstructing Congress’s ability to provide aid to Israel by introducing a partisan bill. The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, released a statement, alleging that Republicans were “politicizing national security” and deeming their bill as a non-starter. For this proposal to become law, it must pass both the House and the Senate and be signed by President Biden.
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“House Republicans are setting a dangerous precedent by suggesting that protecting national security or responding to natural disasters is contingent upon cuts to other programs,” Rosa DeLauro, the ranking Democratic representative on the House appropriations committee, said in a statement. The House rules committee is expected to consider the Republican Israel bill on Wednesday.