(The Center Square) – U.S. House Republicans voted Thursday to pass a $14.3 billion spending measure to send funds to Israel in its war against Hamas. Most of those funds are meant for Israel’s military.
House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., backed the measure in his most controversial and bold move yet, pushing back against the White House’s plan to bundle Israel and Ukraine funding together, which is notable since support for Ukraine has continued to wane among Republicans. The legislation includes a cut of $14.3 billion from the Internal Revenue Service to offset the Israel spending.
The vote comes the same day that President Joe Biden called for a “pause” in the war between Israel and Hamas “to get the prisoners out.” Biden has made clear he supports Israel and its right to defend itself.
The bill’s cut of IRS funding directly goes against Biden’s legislative win in the Inflation Reduction Act, namely an $80 billion increase in the IRS’ budget to increase enforcement.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., already blasted the House spending measure on the Senate floor, calling it a “totally unserious and woefully inadequate package.”
Johnson, though, has pushed for voting on Israel as a standalone issue, something many conservative lawmakers would like to see more of but something that is uncommon in either chamber.
The White House said Biden will veto it if it were to come to his desk.
Last month, Biden proposed more than $100 billion in a spending package for Israel, Ukraine and more, coupling support for the two nations into one request.
According to the White House, Biden’s funding request includes $61 billion for Ukraine in its war against Russia, roughly $14 billion for Israel, and about $14 billion for U.S. immigration problems.
The House spending measure passed Thursday says it will pay for the Israel funding by cutting spending on the IRS. The U.S. Congressional Budget Office scored the legislation, reporting that because of lower IRS revenue collection over the next decade because of those proposed cuts, the measure would actually add $26.7 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years.
Congress also faces a looming partial government shutdown in the middle of November, though Johnson has said he is willing to put forward a temporary measure to fund the government into next year to buy more time for the standard appropriations process.