US House passes Republicans’ only aid bill for Israel, faces deadlock in Senate

Washington, Nov. 2 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a Republican plan to provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel and cut funding for the Internal Revenue Service, despite Democrats insisting it has no future in the Senate and White House. Veto’s House Promise.

The measure passed 226 to 196, largely along party lines, a shift from the traditionally strong bipartisan congressional support for aid to Israel. 12 Democrats voted for the bill with 214 Republicans, and two Republicans voted against it along with 194 Democrats.

The bill’s introduction is the first major legislative action by incoming Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson as lawmakers rush to respond to attacks on Israel by Iran-backed Hamas militants.

But because it cuts aid to Israel and the Internal Revenue Service and leaves out aid to Ukraine, President Joe Biden has vowed to veto it, and Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader of the Democratic-controlled Senate, has said he won’t bring it up. A vote.

Biden has asked Congress to approve a $106 billion emergency spending package, including funding and humanitarian aid for Israel, Taiwan and Ukraine. Schumer said the Senate will consider a bipartisan bill that addresses broader priorities.

The dispute between the two chambers means it could take weeks for Congress to approve any emergency spending plan.

The House bill would provide billions to Israel’s military alone, including $4 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome and David Sling defense systems to counter short-range rocket threats and to relocate some equipment from the U.S. stockpile.

Israel already receives $3.8 billion a year in US military aid under a 10-year plan that began in 2016.

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“This is the first step in the process, and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill so we can get funding to Israel as soon as possible,” said Rep. Kay Granger, a Republican who chairs the House Appropriations Committee. Law.

Republicans hold a 221-212 majority in the House, but Biden’s fellow Democrats control the Senate 51-49. To become law, the bill must pass both the House and Senate and be signed by Biden.

Speaker-elect of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) delivers remarks on the outside steps of the House of Representatives after being elected as the new speaker at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., on October 25, 2023. REUTERS/Nathan Howard/File photo Obtain licensing rights

A poison pill?

House Republican leaders have tied aid spending to Israel, cut some funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and included Democrats in Biden’s signature 2022 anti-inflation law, prompting Democrats to exploit Israel’s crisis to score political points.

Republicans, who have opposed increased IRS funding from the start, said the agency’s budget cuts were necessary to cover the cost of military aid to Israel, which launched tanks and troops on Hamas on the outskirts of Gaza City on Thursday.

Democrats opposed cutting money for the IRS, saying it was a politically motivated “poison pill” that would increase the U.S. budget deficit by reducing tax collections. They also said that continued support is necessary for Ukraine as it struggles against Russian aggression that began in February 2022.

The IRS cuts and Israel aid in the House bill would add nearly $30 billion to the U.S. budget deficit, currently estimated at $1.7 trillion.

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Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, accused Republicans of delaying aid by supporting a partisan bill that did not include humanitarian aid for Ukraine or civilians. “This bill abandons Ukraine. We will not abandon Israel, we will not abandon Ukraine. But their fortunes are linked,” he said.

While Democrats and many Republicans still strongly support Ukraine, a small but vocal group of Republicans question sending more money to the government in Kiev at a time of steep budget deficits.

Johnson, who voted against aid to Ukraine several times before becoming speaker last month, plans to introduce a bill that would tie aid to Ukraine to money to increase security along the U.S. border with Mexico.

After the vote, Johnson urged the Senate and the White House to quickly approve the bill. “The Senate and the White House cannot allow this moment to pass, and I urge them to act as quickly as the House did today and pass this bill,” he said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Congress has authorized $113 billion since the invasion of Ukraine began.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Makini Brice; Editing by Scott Malone, Mark Porter, Alistair Bell and Chris Rees

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Patricia Zengerle has reported from more than 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and China. An award-winning Washington-based national security and foreign policy correspondent and editor, Patricia has appeared on NPR, C-Span and others, spoken at the National Press Forum and participated in a Hoover Institution media roundtable. He is a recipient of the Edwin M. Hood Award for Diplomatic Correspondence.

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Mahiny Price covers the US Congress starting in 2021. Besides Washington, he has also reported in Senegal, Haiti and France. He was part of a group of journalists who chronicled the slavery ties of the lawmakers’ ancestors.

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