The Democrat-controlled Senate will refuse to consider the House GOP plan to send aid to Israel in its fight against Hamas, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced on Thursday, setting up a standoff with the Republican-led lower chamber.
Opting for a different path, Schumer said the Senate will move forward by working on legislation that combines Israel assistance with other national security matters — a strategy rejected by House conservatives, but favored by the Biden administration.
“Let me be clear: The Senate will not take up the House GOP’s deeply flawed proposal,” Schumer said in a post to X. “Instead we will work on our own bipartisan emergency aid package that includes funding for aid to Israel, Ukraine, humanitarian aid including for Gaza, and competition with the Chinese Government.”
Let me be clear: The Senate will not take up the House GOP's deeply flawed proposal
Instead we will work on our own bipartisan emergency aid package that includes funding for aid to Israel, Ukraine, humanitarian aid including for Gaza, and competition with the Chinese Government
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 2, 2023
The House GOP proposal, which aims to offset $14.3 billion in aid for Israel by slashing the same amount of funds meant for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), is expected to get a vote in the House as early as Thursday afternoon, yet already faces a veto threat from the White House.
Though the House Republican plan matches the amount of money designated for Israel sought by the Biden administration, Israel aid was just one slice of President Joe Biden’s roughly $106 billion request for national security-related funds that also included $61.4 billion for Ukraine in its fight against Russia, as well as money for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific, humanitarian assistance, and border security.
“We are in dire straits as a nation,” Johnson said. He stressed that tackling the $33.7 trillion national debt is a top priority, declaring, “We want to protect and help and assist our friend Israel, but we have to keep our own house in order as well.” Johnson also said he has made it “very clear” to the Biden administration and Senate Republicans that “we’re going to do this in a responsible manner.”
The speaker also vowed that Ukraine will “come next” and suggested it could be paired with border security. Johnson said he believes a bipartisan agreement can be reached on those issues.
In the Senate, a bipartisan, 60-vote coalition is needed to overcome a filibuster. Some Republicans have warned against complicating a popular Israel assistance proposal by adding more to it, while others signaled they are open to linking aid packages.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told reporters any measure that links Israel and Ukraine aid is “just not going to pass in the House.” His colleague, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), said the conflicts “should be dealt with together.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday in which he said threats to the United States are “intertwined” and called on Washington to rally behind its allies.
Democrats who oppose the House GOP proposal have seized on a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis that found the offset idea would decrease revenues by $26.8 billion over 10 years and therefore increase the federal deficit by $12.5 billion over that time period.
“The House GOP released an unserious package that politicizes aid to Israel, balloons the federal deficit by billions, and fails to address the national security threats America faces around the globe,” Schumer said in a post to X on Wednesday.
Johnson dismissed the CBO assessment, telling reporters, “Only in Washington when you cut spending do they call it an increase in the deficit.”