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House GOP announces standalone $14.3 billion Israel aid package, setting up Senate clash

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Speaker Mike Johnson on Monday unveiled the House GOP’s $14.3 billion aid package for Israel’s military drive against Hamas, which he has vowed to pass on the floor this week.

Unlike other recent supplemental assistance packages, the House GOP plans to offset the cost of the Israel funding — largely by cutting funds to the Internal Revenue Service, likely in an attempt to win over conservative hardliners. Despite that leadership effort, the legislation already faces significant scrutiny from conservatives, who want to make sure the spending is fully offset.

“I will be a NO vote,” wrote Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.). “We simply can’t afford it.”

The 13-page bill represents Johnson’s first major piece of legislation to head to the House floor, besides a resolution of support for Israel last week. Yet it will run into significant trouble across the Capitol, where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are eying a far larger global aid package, which would include funding for Israel, but also Ukraine.

Schumer bristled at the House GOP’s bill shortly after its release, criticizing its narrow scope as well as its targeting of IRS funds.

“We believe, our Democratic Caucus, we should be doing all of it together: Israel, Ukraine, South Pacific, etc. And obviously a pay-for like that makes it much harder to pass,” Schumer said.

Earlier Monday, Johnson told reporters he intends to speak with Schumer about the Israel-only funding bill this week.

Johnson has indicated he wants to keep aid to Israel separate from that for Ukraine, assuming such an option could pass the GOP-led House. That approach stands in stark contrast to the Senate, where both Schumer and McConnell are pushing to bundle the two issues together.

“There are lots of things going on around the world that we have to address, and we will,” Johnson said in a Sunday interview on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures. “But right now, what’s happening in Israel takes the immediate attention, and I think we’ve got to separate that and get it through.”

To cover the cost of the measure, it would claw back $14.3 billion from IRS funding Democrats provided in their signature climate and tax package last year to beef up tax enforcement.

The House Republican bill comes on the heels of President Joe Biden’s request for $106 billion in emergency aid, and it matches the president’s request for $14.3 billion for Israel. The administration has also asked for more than $61 billion for Ukraine and about $10 billion in humanitarian assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Gaza.

The House measure includes $4 billion in Pentagon funding to transfer to Israel for Iron Dome and David’s Sling, two missile defense systems to defend against rocket attacks. The package also includes $4.4 billion for the Pentagon to replace inventories of weapons and equipment sent to Israel as well as to reimburse the military for training and other services. Another $3.5 billion would go to the State Department in foreign military financing to help arm Israel.

The bill includes:

$4.4 billion for the Pentagon to use broadly on “attacks in Israel,” through next September. The military can also tap into that money to backfill weapons and reimburse itself for training.
$801.4 million for the Army to use on ammunition.
$10 million for the Navy to use on weapons.
$38.6 million for the Air Force to buy missiles.
$4 billion for the Iron Dome and David’s Sling, two missile defense systems to defend against rocket attacks.
$1.2 billion would go toward research and development efforts for Iron Beam, Israel’s air defense laser project.

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.