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House passes $14.3 billion in Israel aid, setting up showdown with Senate

Nov 2, 2023, 4:53 PM

The House is expected to vote on Thursday on a bill to provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel as it...

The House is expected to vote on Thursday on a bill to provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel as it fights a war against Hamas. Mandatory Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

(CNN) — The House passed a bill on Thursday to provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel as it fights a war against Hamas – a move that sets up a clash with the Democratic-led Senate in an early leadership test for Speaker Mike Johnson.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has called the House GOP bill a “deeply flawed proposal” that the Senate will not take it up. Democrats are objecting to the fact that the bill does not include aid to Ukraine and would enact funding cuts to the Internal Revenue Service. The House vote was 226 to 196. Two Republicans opposed the bill and 12 Democrats supported it.

Democrats have called for aid to Israel to be paired with additional security assistance for Ukraine in its war against Russia. In the Senate, there is bipartisan support for aid to Israel and further aid to Ukraine. But in the House, many Republicans are opposed to sending more aid to Ukraine, putting the two chambers at odds.

In an attempt to offset the cost of the $14.3 billion in Israel aid, the House bill would rescind $14.3 billion in funding for the Internal Revenue Service. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said, however, that the proposal to offset aid to Israel by cutting IRS funding would add to the deficit and result in roughly $26.8 billion in lost revenue over 10 years.

Democrats say aid to Israel should not be conditional upon funding cuts and have seized on the CBO assessment to call the GOP proposal unserious. “The hypocrisy here is that by cutting funding to go after tax cheats, (it) will actually explode the deficit by billions and billions of dollars. What a joke,” Schumer said.

Schumer went on to say that the Senate “will not be considering this deeply flawed proposal from the House GOP. Instead, we 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.”

The deep divide between the House and Senate comes as government funding is set to expire on November 17 and the threat of a potential government shutdown looms.

The new House speaker has defended his decision to make Israel aid conditional on IRS spending cuts and signaled he would not support an emergency supplemental package if doesn’t include offsets.

“I did not attach that for political purposes, OK. I attached it because, again, we’re trying to get back to the principle of fiscal responsibility here,” Johnson said at a news conference Thursday. “And that was the easiest and largest pile of money that’s sitting there for us to be able to pay for this immediate obligation.”

Johnson also committed to passing a Ukraine aid package after they deal with Israel, but said it would need to be attached to stricter border security provisions – a move that further throws the prospects of Ukraine funding into doubt in Washington.

“Ukraine will come in short order, it will come next,” Johnson said. “And you’ve heard me say that we want to pair border security with Ukraine … If we’re going to take care of a border in Ukraine, we need to take care of America’s border as well.”

Johnson also reiterated that he believes “we’re going to need another stopgap funding measure” to avoid a government shutdown on November 17, and favors one that lasts until January 15, but said they’re still figuring out exactly what it would look like.

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Haley Talbot, Kristin Wilson and Mel Zanona contributed. 

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House passes $14.3 billion in Israel aid, setting up showdown with Senate