House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks at an annual Republican Jewish Coalition leadership meeting on October 28, 2023 in Las Vegas.
The House has released the text of its Israel funding bill, allocating $14.3 billion to aid the country, setting up one of the first leadership tests for newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson.
As the Louisiana Republican noted last week, the GOP-led bill includes the same amount in spending cuts, rescinding $14.3 billion that had been allocated to the IRS as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.
Democrats warn that the bill’s tradeoffs could cost it passage in the House. And so far, two House Republicans – Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia – have said they will oppose the bill.
In the Senate, both leaders have pushed for any funding for Israel to be combined with Ukraine and border security funds. Johnson has pushed to separate aid to Israel from aid to Ukraine.
Johnson told Fox News on Monday that he will call Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to discuss his push to include spending cuts to offset the costs of the Israel package expected to reach the House later this week. when Senate Democrats indicate they would reject that plan.
Johnson, in an interview recorded on Fox News, noted that his strategy “could” cost him Democratic support in the Senate and House of Representatives, but said his intention is to call Schumer and “have a very direct and thoughtful conversation about this.” . He understands that his priority is to strengthen the IRS.”
Schumer insisted that funding for Ukraine, as well as humanitarian aid for Gaza, should be included in any supplemental package.
“We need to work with our colleagues in the House to ensure that all of these forms of aid reach the President’s desk,” Schumer said. “We must not succumb to the false appeals of isolationism that the hard right professes now, because all we will do is make America less safe.”
Sen. Patty Murray, chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a close Schumer confidant, attacked the bill for going after IRS enforcement and not including aid to Ukraine, calling it “dead on arrival” in the Senate, the form clearer to do so. There are still signs that there is no path for legislation in the chamber.
“Demanding deep funding cuts to meet urgent emergency needs is a dangerous political game, and let’s be clear: The cuts proposed by House Republicans would actually increase the deficit by limiting the IRS’s ability to go after billionaire evaders. taxes,” the Washington Democrat said in a statement.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continued to advocate for including aid to Ukraine in the national security supplement at an event Monday with Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, in Louisville, Kentucky.
“Now is the time to take swift and decisive action to prevent further loss of life and impose real consequences on the tyrants who have terrorized the people of Ukraine and Israel. And right now, the Senate has the opportunity to produce supplemental assistance that will help us do exactly that,” McConnell said. “Enemies abroad will be watching closely and waiting for the United States to falter. Only our concrete and credible support can deter our adversaries in the future and restore security.”
Senate Republicans are divided over McConnell’s push to tie Ukraine aid to a package for Israel; Several of his conservative colleagues say they should follow the House’s lead and pass the Israel package first.
“Israel first; I think it’s the right thing to do,” said Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. “We have a majority in the House, we should follow what they are doing.”
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, an avowed skeptic about aid to Ukraine, called McConnell’s strategy a “mistake” and argued that it would slow down aid to Israel.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a strong supporter of aid to Ukraine, signaled he was open to approving Israel funding in a standalone package, but said he wants to ensure other priorities are also clear in Congress, including aid to Ukraine. .
“At the end of the day, all those things have to be done for me. Not some of them, but all of them… you can send to Israel alone, that would be fine,” she said.
CNN’s Manu Raju, Sam Fossum and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.