The House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to provide emergency aid to Israel to support its campaign to root out Hamas.
The $14.3 billion bill passed 226 votes to 196, receiving 12 Democratic votes and losing two Republican votes.
Reps. Thomas Massie, D-Kentucky, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, D-Georgia, voted against the bill on the Republican side.
The bill’s fate is likely doomed in the Senate as Democrats have insisted that aid must be tied to Ukraine and are grappling with how to pay for it: The bill uses money earmarked for the IRS.
The money comes from an $80 billion boost to the IRS as part of the Inflation Reduction Act passed by Democrats last Congress.
Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s debt-limiting agreement has already eliminated some of that money, but much of it remains.
Even though the IRS payments threaten the future of the emergency relief bill, spokesman Mike Johnson insisted that foreign aid must be balanced.
Even though the IRS payments threaten the future of the emergency relief bill, spokesman Mike Johnson insisted that foreign aid must be balanced
“$67 billion is there to clean up, build and hire new IRS agents, and you have to look now at the scope and significance of our commitments,” Johnson said in a news conference. “I think this dire situation in Israel is so important.”
He argued that the national debt, which stands at $33 trillion, represents above all “the greatest threat to national security.”
“Funding for Ukraine will come soon.” “We will do that next,” the spokesman said, adding that this would go hand in hand with border security.
The White House said President Biden would veto the bill if it lands on his desk.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar criticized the bill. “They are trying to attach conditions to life-saving aid to Israel with the sole aim of making it easier for billionaires to cheat on their taxes.”
“With these first legislative decisions, we are learning a lot about this new speaker this week. “And that has been a complete disaster,” he added.
The White House announced Thursday that it would urge Israel to place a humanitarian pause to allow more aid to reach Gaza.
Meanwhile, on the Senate side, some Democrats have begun criticizing Israel’s aggressive and bloody offensive campaign in response to the October 7 Hamas attacks.
Asked by CNN if it was time for a ceasefire, Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said: “I think it is.”
Jewish Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also called on Israel to stop its attacks on Gaza.
“The catastrophe in Gaza cannot continue.” The world must act to save innocent lives. But just as a humanitarian response is important, it is equally important to chart 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, several progressive lawmakers called for a ceasefire.
An injured Palestinian boy cries as rescuers try to pull him from the rubble of a destroyed building after an Israeli airstrike in Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023
Smoke rises after Israeli attacks on the Tal Al Hawa neighborhood in Gaza City
Israeli rescue workers inspect a house hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip near Lod, Israel, on November 2, 2023
“Enough people have been killed,” Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., told DailyMail.com. “We have to find a diplomatic solution.”
He said he was frustrated with the Biden administration’s handling of the conflict “from the start.”
“It is important to support our ally Israel, but it is also important to hold Israel accountable,” Bowman added. “We have to do better as a party.”
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., also called on Israel to “reconsider its approach.”
“It is time for Israel’s friends to recognize that the current approach is causing an unacceptable level of civilian harm and is unlikely to achieve the goal of ending the threat from Hamas.” “I call on Israel to abandon its approach immediately to reconsider.”
A Hamas attack on October 7 killed around 1,400 Israelis, according to the Israeli Defense Forces. At least 9,000 Palestinians were killed in response, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. None of the figures have been independently verified.
Republicans still largely support Israel and are happy with the IRS compromise.
“Israel has every right to defend itself against the brutal attacks we have experienced over the last month,” Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., said in a statement. “These funds would be better used to support Israel rather than being used by IRS agents to audit middle-class Americans.”