US House to vote on Republicans’ standalone $14.3 bln Israel bill

The US House of Representatives plans a vote on Thursday on a Republican plan to provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel by cutting Internal Revenue Service (IRS) funding, setting up a clash with the Democratic-controlled Senate and White House.

Republicans unveiled the bill on Monday, in the first major legislative action under new Speaker Mike Johnson, despite President Joe Biden’s request for a broad $106 billion package including funding for Israel, Taiwan and Ukraine, as well as humanitarian aid.

The bill will face its first test of support in a morning procedural vote, a hurdle it needs to clear before a final vote on passage later in the afternoon.

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

What does the future look like for this bill?

The top Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer, said the Republican bill would be dead on arrival in the upper chamber, even if it passed the House. The White House has threatened a veto.

Majority Leader of the US Senate Chuck Schumer (left) with President Isaac Herzog. October 15, 2023 (credit: CHAIM TZACH/GPO)

Democrats objected to cutting money for the IRS, saying it will increase the country’s budget deficit by cutting back on tax collection.

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

Congress has approved $113 billion for Ukraine since the invasion began.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday said the IRS cuts and the Israel aid in the standalone bill would add nearly $30 billion to the US budget deficit, currently estimated at $1.7 trillion.





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