The House passed a bill to send emergency aid to Israel on Thursday to help in its campaign to eradicate Hamas.
The $14.3 billion bill passed 226 to 196, garnering 12 Democratic votes and losing two Republicans.
Reps. Thomas Massie, Ky., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ga., voted against the bill on the Republican side.
Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s debt limit deal already stripped some of that money away, but much of it remains.
Even as the IRS pay-for threatens the emergency aid bill’s future, Speaker Mike Johnson insisted the foreign aid must be offset.
Even as the IRS pay-for threatens the emergency aid bill’s future, Speaker Mike Johnson insisted the foreign aid must be offset
‘$67 billion, it’s sitting over there to refurbish, build up and hire new IRS agents and you have to look at the scope and the importance of our commitments right now,’ Johnson said in a news conference. ‘My belief is that this dire situation in Israel is so important.’
He reasoned that the national debt, sitting at $33 trillion is ‘the greatest national security threat’ above anything else.
‘Ukraine (funding) will come in short order. We’ll do that next,’ the speaker said, adding it would be paired with border security.
The White House said President Biden would veto the bill if it made it to his desk.
House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar tore into the bill. ‘They’re seeking to condition life saving aid to Israel, for the sole purpose of making it easier for billionaires to cheat on their taxes.’
‘We’re learning a lot about this new speaker this week, with these first legislative decisions. And this has been a complete and total disaster,’ he added.
In a change of tides, the White House also said on Thursday it would push Israel to pursue a humanitarian pause to allow more aid to get into Gaza.
Meanwhile on the Senate side some Democrats have begun to criticize Israel’s aggressive and bloody offensive campaign in response to the October 7 Hamas attacks.
Asked whether it was time for a ceasefire by CNN, Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Senate Majority Whip, said: ‘I think it is.’
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who is Jewish, also called on Israel to cease its attacks on Gaza.
‘The disaster in Gaza cannot continue. The world must act to save innocent lives. But just as a humanitarian response is critical, it is equally important to lay out a path to a two-state solution and a democratic Palestine. Israel cannot bomb its way to a long-term solution.’
On the House side a number of progressive members have demanded a cease fire.
An injured Palestinian boy cries as rescuers try to pull him out of the rubble of a destroyed building following an Israeli airstrike in Bureij refugee camp, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023
Smoke rises following Israeli strikes on the Tal Al Hawa neighborhood in Gaza City
Israeli rescue crew inspect a house which was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on November 2, 2023 near Lod, Israel
‘Enough people have been killed,’ Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., told DailyMail.com. ‘We have got to figure out a diplomatic solution.’
He said he’s been frustrated with the Biden administration’s handling of the conflict ‘from the very beginning.’
‘It’s important to support our ally Israel but it’s also important to hold Israel accountable,’ Bowman added. ‘We’ve got to do better as a party.’
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., also demanded Israel ‘reconsider its approach.’
‘It’s time for Israel’s friends to recognize that the current approach is causing an unacceptable level of civilian harm and does not appear likely to achieve the goal of ending the threat from Hamas. I urge Israel to immediately reconsider its approach.’
A Hamas attack on October 7 killed some 1,400 Israelis, according to the Israeli Defence Force. At least 9,000 Palestinians have been killed in response, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Neither figure has been independently verified.
Republicans are still largely supportive of Israel, and happy with the IRS trade-off.
‘Israel has every right defend itself from the brutal attacks we have been witnessing over the past month,’ Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., said in a statement. ‘These funds are better used supporting Israel than being used by IRS agents to audit middle class Americans.’