House GOP Proposes Israel Aid Offset By IRS Budget Cuts
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., addresses the House chamber of the the U.S. Capitol after winning the speakership on Wednesday, October 25, 2023.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

House Republicans introduced an aid package on Monday that would remove millions of dollars allocated to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and direct the same amount of money to Israel.

Already facing opposition from Democrats, the GOP plan aims to further cut the budget of the IRS after President Joe Biden secured $80 billion through the Inflation Reduction Act to bolster the agency over 10 years — only for roughly $21 billion to get clawed back as part of a debt ceiling deal in June.

The new proposal would provide $14.3 billion to Israel while rescinding the same amount of funds made available to the IRS to back the U.S. ally as it fights Hamas in the Gaza Strip — following the deadly terrorist attacks on Israeli soil earlier this month that killed an estimated 1,400-plus people, including 33 Americans, and led to more than 200 hostages being taken.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), who was elected to the leadership role last week, told Fox News that he believes the American people would say that “standing with Israel and protecting the innocent over there is in our national interest and is a more immediate need than IRS agents.” He also said the United States is “not just going to print money and send it overseas.”

House Democrats criticized their Republican colleagues over the proposal. Ways and Means Committee member Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ) said in a post to X, “The republicans are trying to use a catastrophic war as a vehicle to give millionaires a tax cut. This garbage will *raise* the deficit by helping rich people cheat on their taxes. There is no tragedy Republicans won’t exploit not one.”

Biden recently made a roughly $106 billion national security request of Congress, seeking $14.3 billion for Israel, $61.4 billion for Ukraine, $13.6 billion for border security, $9.15 billion for humanitarian aid, and $7.4 billion for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific. In the Democrat-controlled Senate, debate was already underway about whether to link Israel aid to more money for Ukraine’s fight against Russian invaders.

The House Republican plan “makes it much harder to pass,” said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), according to CNN. On the GOP side of the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has called for “swift and decisive action” when it comes to Israel as well as Ukraine. A statement from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre suggested the House Republican proposal was a “nonstarter,” adding that “demanding offsets for meeting core national security needs of the United States — like supporting Israel and defending Ukraine from atrocities and Russian imperialism—would be a break with the normal, bipartisan process and could have devastating implications for our safety and alliances in the years ahead.”

The clash of ideas sets the stage for Johnson to take on his first major spending battle as speaker. Among House conservatives, lawmakers emphasized the massive U.S. debt cannot be ignored and rejected tying financial support for Israel to other causes.

“We want to help Israel — and we all do. I think most Republicans and Democrats absolutely want to do that. But we also have to acknowledge our own financial crisis here in America,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of the Freedom Caucus, said in a Fox News interview. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), another Freedom Caucus member, said Israel aid should be a stand-alone measure.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  House GOP Proposes Israel Aid Offset By IRS Budget Cuts