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House Passes Israel Aid Package, Setting Up Conflict with Senate and White House

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives passed a stand-alone Israel aid package on Thursday, but the bill is expected to face opposition in the Senate and from the White House. The $14.3 billion aid bill, introduced by Speaker Mike Johnson, passed with a mostly party-line vote of 226-196. While a dozen Democrats joined Republicans in supporting the bill, Republican Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Thomas Massie voted against it due to concerns about providing foreign aid while the national debt is rising.

House Democrats largely rejected the bill because its funding plan included clawing back money for more IRS agents, which they saw as conditioning aid to Israel. Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut said, “We do not condition emergency appropriations. This is the first time we have conditioned aid for Israel.” The stand-alone bill proposed by Johnson was separated from a larger $106 billion emergency aid package requested by President Biden.

The White House, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and congressional Democrats oppose separating aid to Israel from aid to Ukraine. They argue that President Biden’s umbrella proposal, which includes both aid packages, has a better chance of reaching the 60-vote threshold in the Senate. Johnson’s decision to separate the aid request and fund it with money meant for the IRS has likely doomed the bill in the Democratic-led Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer stated that the Senate would not take up the House’s “deeply flawed proposal” and instead plans to work on a bipartisan emergency aid package that includes funding for aid to Israel, Ukraine, humanitarian aid for Gaza, and competition with the Chinese Government. The White House has also promised to veto the Republicans’ bill.

Many Senate Republicans disagree with McConnell’s approach to the aid package and are seeking to address border policy instead of providing additional funding. Conservatives in the Senate are working on their own aid package.

Johnson defended his bill, arguing that reshuffling funding from the IRS was the easiest and largest source of money that could be used to offset spending and reduce the national debt. However, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the reshuffling would add more than $12 billion to the deficit over the next decade. Republicans have disputed the accuracy of this report.

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