Nov 2, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House passes GOP's $14.3 billion Israel aid package

House Speaker Mike Johnson. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

The House on Thursday voted to pass legislation providing $14.3 billion in military assistance to Israel while cutting funding to the IRS.

Why it matters: The bill puts the House deeply at odds with the Senate, which is poised to ignore the GOP measure altogether in favor of bipartisan legislation funding Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan.

  • The IRS clawback infuriated Democrats and fueled their concerns about the willingness of newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to work across the aisle.

Driving the news: The House voted 226-196 to pass the emergency supplemental spending bill, with most Republicans voting for it and most Democrats voting against it.

  • Right-wing Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), both perennial skeptics of foreign aid, voted against the bill.
  • 12 Democrats voted for the bill, mostly staunchly pro-Israel Jewish members and those from swing districts.

By the numbers: The bill includes $4 billion for Israel's "Iron Dome" and "David's Sling" anti-missile defense systems, as well as an additional $1.2 billion for the development of the country's "Iron Beam" system.

  • It also includes $200 million for the protection of U.S. government personnel and emergency evacuations of American citizens and $4.4 billion to replenish Pentagon stockpiles to replace munitions and weapons sent to Israel.
  • The bill offsets the Israel aid with $14.3 billion in cuts to IRS spending from the Inflation Reduction Act.

The intrigue: Rather than saving money, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office determined the IRS clawback would add $12.5 billion to the federal deficit over a decade due to lost tax revenue.

The backdrop: Democratic leadership whipped forcefully against the bill, according to multiple Democratic sources.

  • House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) "quite firmly" made the case against the bill in Democrats' closed-door caucus meeting on Thursday morning, according to a senior House Democrat.
  • Jeffries argued that Israel aid has always been bipartisan and that politicizing the issue was cynical. He was backed up by several committee ranking members.
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