Thursday, the House of Representatives approved a measure that would distribute military assistance to Israel in support of its conflict with Hamas. The bill funds this assistance through reductions in funding for the Internal Revenue Service.
The Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2024 would allocate financial resources to the Department of Defense for the purpose of replacing military aid equipment supplied to Israel, supporting research endeavors by the Department of State to evacuate U.S. citizens from the region, and ensuring the safety of U.S. diplomatic missions amidst the conflict-induced complexities of new air defense systems being developed by Israel, including the Iron Beam aerial laser program.
With 196 dissenting votes to 226 affirmative ones, the majority of Democrats cast their ballots in favor of the bill.
The House passed H.R. 6126 – Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024 by a vote of 226-196. https://t.co/XBVUTTJHet
— House Press Gallery (@HouseDailyPress) November 2, 2023
“House Republicans are bringing forward a bill to ensure Israel has what it needs to defend itself as it fights to eliminate the threat from Hamas,” wrote House Majority Steve Scalise in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation ahead of the vote.
“Israel has every right to defend itself against such heinous actions, and we must stand with them in their fight against our shared enemies for self-determination, democracy, and freedom.”
One hundred additional Republican co-sponsors and Texas Republican Rep. Kay Granger, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced the bill.
The bill in question has encountered significant opposition from Senate Democrats. Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray declared via Twitter that “the House GOP’s bill is dead on arrival” in the upper chamber. Additionally, the Biden administration asserted that President Joe Biden would veto the bill if it were to be presented to him.
In the past, Vice President Biden put forth a proposal for an over $100 billion supplemental appropriations measure, which aimed to finance aid to Ukraine throughout its conflict with Russia, in addition to Israel, and to support border security and immigration processing at the United States-Mexico border.
The aforementioned request encountered extensive criticism from House Republicans, who declared that their chamber, where they hold a majority, would not support the proposal.
According to a review of the bill’s budgetary effects by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it would increase the fiscal deficit by roughly $12.5 billion over ten years, until 2033.
The CBO noted that funds cut from the IRS are intended to support enforcement actions against delinquent taxpayers, which “would result in fewer enforcement actions over the next decade and in a reduction in revenue collections,” according to the office’s report to Congress.
“Speaker Johnson and House Republicans released a totally unserious and woefully inadequate package that omitted aid to Ukraine, omitted humanitarian assistance to Gaza, had no funding for the Indo-Pacific, and made funding for Israel conditional on hard-right, never-going-to-pass proposals. What a joke,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday.
In a statement to the DCNF, Will Reinart, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, criticized Democrats for opposing the law “while terrorists continue their barbaric attacks.”
Several House Republicans informed the DCNF prior to the bill’s consideration by the House that they would not have voted for a military aid measure unless it was accompanied by commensurate reductions in expenditure.
“We are in the worst fiscal crisis our country has ever faced,” said Republican Rep. Bob Good of Virginia to the DCNF. “We ought to require offsets, cuts to … the IRS expansion in order to fund [the bill]. We shouldn’t be borrowing from China, borrowing from our kids’ and grandkids’ future, to fund the Israeli funding. Even though it’s good policy, we literally don’t have the money.”
“We need to have the offsets,” Good said when pressed on whether he’d support a bill to aid Israel without offsetting cuts. This point was echoed by Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.
“Funding for many of those things needs to be offset because we are running trillion-dollar deficits at this point,” Perry told the DCNF. “Since the president refuses to be the adult in the room … that’s going to be the House of Representatives,” he added.
“I do not believe we should write another blank check to anyone, including ourselves, we must pay for it. And the American people must see that it’s going to cause something if we’re going to give another $14 billion to Israel,” said Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas in comments shared with the DCNF. “If you see me in the end having to vote against Israel funding, just make sure you heard it here first, right? I support Israel. But I am not going to continue to go down this road where we bankrupt our country.”
Schumer and the Israeli Mission to the United States did not immediately respond to a request for comment.