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Controversy in Congress: What is US aid to Israel?

Controversy in Congress: What is US aid to Israel?

As of: November 4, 2023 5:25 am

As the chaos surrounding the election of a new Speaker of the House of Representatives ends, succession in the US Congress is at odds. Now it’s about aid packages for Israel and Ukraine.

‘Completely irresponsible,’ ‘a political stunt’: US Democratic supporters are outraged by the extra aid bill to Israel that passed the Republican-majority House of Representatives. Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries predicted “no chance of it becoming law.” And this Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, has already announced that he won’t even allow the Senate to vote on the bill, which he described as a “total failure.”

Republicans want to cut the tax agency

The Senate would not agree. Although US President Joe Biden has already announced his veto, Democrats are in favor of support for Israel, but not on Republican terms. One of them: More than 14 billion dollars for Israel should be counter-funded – through appropriate cuts to the US tax authority IRS.

To the Republican right, the IRS is an agency exploited by the Biden administration, with the middle class particularly affected. The new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican Mike Johnson, rejected accusations that he had made concessions to the far-right in his caucus with the condition. He clarified that this is not about political calculation but about fiscal responsibility.

Cuts to the Internal Revenue Service that Republicans want will cost the government billions in revenue through tax fraud, according to a forecast by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned on CNN that the only beneficiaries would be wealthy tax evaders and corporations that pay less than they should.

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The Senate may introduce its own bill

But that’s not the only point of contention in the Republican Israel bill. The bill contains no further support for Ukraine. Mike Johnson, who has repeatedly voted against new aid to Ukraine, wants to vote it separately. Even his party colleagues in the Senate are criticizing him for this. For example, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said it would be naive to split aid to Israel and Ukraine. The threats have similarities.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted: America does not have the luxury of closing its doors and hoping evil will leave them alone. McConnell said this is no time for the leader of the free world to sleep.

The Senate is likely to introduce its own bill on Israel and Ukraine as a package as early as next week. It is unlikely to pass the House of Representatives. Negotiations are underway behind closed doors, but it will take a long time until an agreement is reached.

Nina Barth, ARD Washington, tagesschau, November 4, 2023 6:07 am