House approves nearly $14.5 billion in military aid for Israel. Biden vows to veto the GOP approach

by Michael Nguyen
U.S. Military Aid for Israel

The House of Representatives has passed a bill authorizing nearly $14.5 billion in military aid for Israel, signifying a robust U.S. stance in response to the conflict with Hamas. However, this move has been marked by partisanship, chiefly due to Speaker Mike Johnson’s insistence that the emergency funding be counterbalanced by cuts in federal spending. This requirement has not only underscored the conservative agenda of the House GOP leadership but has also polarized the usually bipartisan support for such measures, prompting President Joe Biden to threaten a veto.

Speaker Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, asserted that the legislation would ensure Israel has the necessary support for its defense, the release of hostages, and the dismantling of Hamas, all while aiming to reduce federal government expenditures.

Despite the bill passing the House with a vote of 226-196, with a dozen Democrats siding with the majority of Republicans, the approach has been criticized by Democratic leaders. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has dismissed the bill as frivolous, doubting its prospects in the Senate.

This legislative move to back Israel in its war is substantially less than President Biden’s broader proposal, which sought nearly $106 billion to also support Ukraine against Russia, counter China’s influence, and enhance border security. Speaker Johnson, who recently succeeded Rep. Kevin McCarthy, indicated plans to consider assistance for Ukraine and border security as separate issues, reflecting the growing Republican skepticism about funding Ukraine.

The White House has criticized Johnson’s method for lacking immediacy and setting a potentially harmful precedent by mandating that emergency funds be sourced from budget cuts. Notably, the amount allocated for Israel matches Biden’s request, but the exclusion of humanitarian aid for Gaza in the GOP’s proposal has been labeled by the administration as a severe oversight amid the escalating crisis.

The lead-up to the vote saw intensive lobbying efforts from the White House to Democratic lawmakers, especially those of Jewish descent, urging them to oppose the bill. Nonetheless, the decision was challenging for some members of Congress who are pro-Israel and might face difficulty explaining the proposed fiscal trade-offs to their voters, particularly as pro-Israel lobbying groups were in favor of the bill’s passage.

To finance the bill, the House GOP proposed slashing funds from the Internal Revenue Service, a move that according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, would lead to a net loss of $12 billion in federal revenue due to reduced tax enforcement.

Democrats have called for the reinstatement of humanitarian aid and criticized the politicization of what is usually bipartisan support for Israel. They have accused Republicans of using the crisis to benefit tax evaders and large corporations.

The Democratic-majority Senate, led by Schumer, has made it clear that it will not consider the House bill, opting instead to draft a bipartisan proposal that encompasses support for Israel and Ukraine, as well as humanitarian efforts for Gaza and strategies to counter China.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has the delicate task of aligning with his House colleagues while also striving to maintain the integrity of Biden’s comprehensive aid request, affirming the interconnected nature of these issues and the need for American engagement.

In conjunction with these developments, the House also passed a resolution condemning the support of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other designated terrorist organizations on college campuses.

Contributors to this report include Big Big News journalists Stephen Groves, Farnoush Amiri, Mary Clare Jalonick, and Seung Min Kim.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about U.S. Military Aid for Israel

What was the outcome of the House vote on military aid for Israel?

The House passed a bill authorizing nearly $14.5 billion in military aid for Israel. The vote was split along party lines, with a final tally of 226-196, and included 12 Democrats who voted with the majority of Republicans.

Why is President Joe Biden considering a veto of the House-approved military aid for Israel?

President Biden has threatened to veto the House-approved military aid bill because it departs from the norm by requiring offsets through cuts in other government spending. The White House has expressed that the approach does not address the urgency of the situation and sets a problematic precedent.

What was unique about Speaker Mike Johnson’s approach to the military aid package for Israel?

Speaker Mike Johnson’s approach was unique in that he required the nearly $14.5 billion emergency aid package for Israel to be offset by cuts in government spending elsewhere. This move, diverging from usual bipartisan support, highlighted the conservative agenda of the new House GOP leadership and contributed to the partisan divide on the issue.

What does the military aid bill for Israel entail according to Speaker Mike Johnson?

Speaker Johnson stated that the Republican-led bill aims to provide Israel with the necessary support to defend itself, secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, and dismantle the militant group, while also ensuring responsible government spending and reducing the federal budget.

What criticism has been leveled against the military aid bill for Israel approved by the House?

Critics, particularly Democrats, argue that the bill’s approach, requiring spending cuts to offset the aid, would delay the assistance Israel needs. Additionally, the exclusion of humanitarian aid for Gaza and the politicization of typically bipartisan support for Israel have also been points of contention.

What are the Senate’s plans regarding the military aid bill for Israel?

The Senate, controlled by the Democrats, has indicated that it will reject the House’s bill and instead work on a bipartisan emergency aid package. This package is expected to include not just aid for Israel but also support for Ukraine, humanitarian assistance for Gaza, and measures to confront China.

What was the House resolution related to the Israel-Hamas war?

The House also approved a Republican-led resolution that condemns support for Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations on college campuses. This resolution is nonbinding but reflects the legislative body’s stance on campus activism related to the Israel-Hamas war.

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Jenny K November 3, 2023 - 12:55 am

So biden’s gonna veto, thats interesting… never thought aid to Israel would become a party issue. Guess everything’s political these days

TruthSeeker November 3, 2023 - 3:01 am

read the bill and it doesn’t even address the root problems in the middle east, feels like we’re just throwing money at a problem and hoping it’ll go away

Carl92 November 3, 2023 - 9:23 am

why is it always cuts in spending that gets targeted, education and health always take the hit it’s like nobody cares about the long term anymore

TheRealist November 3, 2023 - 4:01 pm

saw the news but what about the tax cheats? GOP cutting IRS funds seems like they’re protecting the rich again while the average joe has to foot the bill

Rachel Green November 3, 2023 - 4:11 pm

it’s kind of alarming how much influence lobbies have on these votes, do our representatives really represent us or just the highest bidder?

Mike Sunders November 3, 2023 - 5:40 pm

just saw the house passed the bill for Israel, thats a lot of money considering the economy right now, wonder how that’ll play out with the other issues we got like inflation and stuff


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