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House passes $14B Israel aid packed with IRS cuts

By Jake Beardslee · November 3, 2023

In brief…

  • House passed $14.3 billion in aid to Israel, paid for by cutting IRS funding, setting up clash with Senate Democrats
  • Senate objects to lack of Ukraine aid and IRS cuts adding billions to deficit
  • New House Speaker Johnson defended proposal and tied future Ukraine aid to border security
  • Stopgap government funding measure likely needed with expiration on Nov. 17
The House and Senate are at odds over an Israel aid package lacking Ukraine assistance and cutting IRS funding, complicating urgent war aid and raising risks of a government shutdown.  Office of Speaker Mike Johnson/Wikimedia

The House passed a $14.3 billion aid package to Israel on Thursday, setting up a clash with the Senate where Democrats object to the lack of aid to Ukraine in the proposal. The 226-196 vote fell largely along party lines, with only two Republicans opposed and twelve Democrats in support.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the House GOP bill “a deeply flawed proposal” that the Senate will reject. “The hypocrisy here is that by cutting funding to go after tax cheats, [it] will actually explode the deficit,” Schumer said, referencing how the House bill rescinds $14.3 billion from the IRS to pay for Israel aid, despite the Congressional Budget Office estimating this would cost $26.8 billion in lost revenue over ten years.

Schumer stated the Senate “will work together on our own bipartisan emergency aid package that includes aid to Israel, Ukraine, competition with the Chinese government and humanitarian aid to Gaza.” There is bipartisan Senate support for aiding both Israel and Ukraine, while House Republicans largely oppose Ukraine aid.

New House Speaker Mike Johnson defended tying Israel aid to IRS cuts as “the easiest and largest pile of money sitting there” to offset costs. He committed to an eventual Ukraine package, but said it must include stricter border security. “If we’re going to take care of a border in Ukraine, we need to take care of America’s border as well,” Johnson stated.

With government funding expiring November 17, Johnson said another stopgap measure will likely be needed. He favors one lasting until January 15 but is still determining details.

The divide between the House and Senate places roadblocks before aid release to Israel and Ukraine amid war. It also creates uncertainty on government funding as Democrats and the new House Republican majority clash in an early test of power.