The House approved a bill on Thursday, allocating $14.3 billion in aid to Israel for its ongoing conflict with Hamas. This move has created a potential clash with the Democratic-led Senate, serving as an early test of Speaker Mike Johnson’s leadership. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has criticized the House GOP bill, stating that it is deeply flawed and will not be considered by the Senate. Democrats are particularly concerned about the bill’s omission of aid to Ukraine and its funding cuts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The House vote resulted in a 226-196 tally, with two Republicans opposing the bill and 12 Democrats supporting it.
Democrats have called for linking aid to Israel with additional security assistance for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. The Senate has bipartisan support for both Israel and Ukraine aid, but in the House, many Republicans are against providing further assistance to Ukraine, leading to a divide between the two chambers.
To offset the $14.3 billion in aid to Israel, the House bill proposes to rescind an equal amount of funding from the IRS. However, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has stated that this proposal would increase the deficit and result in approximately $26.8 billion in lost revenue over a decade.
Democrats argue that aid to Israel should not be tied to funding cuts, and they point to the CBO assessment to criticize the GOP proposal. Schumer has stated that the Senate will not consider the House GOP’s flawed proposal and will work on its own bipartisan emergency aid package that includes aid to Israel, Ukraine, competition with the Chinese government, and humanitarian aid to Gaza.
The significant gap between the House and Senate on these issues is a concern, especially as government funding is set to expire on November 17, potentially leading to a government shutdown.
Speaker Johnson has defended his decision to link Israel aid with IRS spending cuts, emphasizing his commitment to fiscal responsibility. He also indicated support for a Ukraine aid package but suggested that it should include stricter border security provisions. This further complicates the prospects of Ukraine funding in Washington.
Johnson has expressed the need for another stopgap funding measure to prevent a government shutdown on November 17, favoring one that extends until January 15, although the exact details are still being worked out.