November 1, 2023
Under the leadership of new House speaker Mike Johnson, the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel by cutting funding to the revenue service for the United States federal government—which is responsible for collecting U.S. federal taxes—using some of the increased funding earmarked for it through President Joe Biden‘s Inflation Reduction Act.
Responding, some have raised concerns that Republicans are using the aid as a political opportunity to cut funding to the IRS. Typically, Congress doesn’t cut funding elsewhere to make room for emergency aid or spending.
Indeed, under Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the agency’s funding was boosted by $80 billion to improve taxpayer services and pay for more enforcement actions against wealthy tax cheats. But, due to Republican opposition, Biden and House Republicans agreed to repeal roughly $20 billion of that $80 billion as part of a deal in May.
Meanwhile, Rosa DeLauro, the ranking Democratic representative on the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement: “House Republicans are setting a dangerous precedent by suggesting that protecting national security or responding to natural disasters is contingent upon cuts to other programs.”
Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement, “Support for defending Israel should not come with conditions…When your neighbor’s house is on fire, you don’t haggle over the price of the garden hose,” she wrote.
Johnson, who voted against aid for Ukraine before he was elected House speaker last week, had said he wanted aid to Israel and Ukraine to be handled separately. He has said he wants more accountability for money that has been sent to Kyiv and that supporting Israel in the aftermath of the Hamas attack on October 7 should be the U.S.’s top security priority.
“I understand their priority is to bulk up the IRS, but I think if you put this to the American people and they weigh the two needs, I think they’re going to say standing with Israel and protecting the innocent over there is in our national interest and is a more immediate need than IRS agents,” Johnson said in a Fox News interview.
“Right now, loud voices on both sides of the aisle are suggesting that American Fleadership isn’t worth the cost. Some say our support for Ukraine comes at the expense of more important priorities, but as I’ve said every time I’ve got the chance, it’s a false choice,” he said. “America is a global superpower with global interests, and enemies of democracy around the world like nothing more than to outlast our resolve to resist Russian aggression.”
The House Rules Committee is expected to consider the Republican Israel bill on Wednesday, November 1. It will need bipartisan support to become law.
Research contact: @Newsweek