Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer railed against House Republicans’ standalone Israel aid proposal, declaring it a “joke” and “stunningly unserious.”
“Speaker Johnson and House Republicans released a totally unserious and woefully inadequate package that omitted aid to Ukraine, omitted humanitarian assistance to Gaza, no funding for the Indo-Pacific, and made funding for Israel conditional on hard-right, never-going-to-pass proposals,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “What a joke.”
Schumer urged House Speaker Mike Johnson to “quickly change course … because this stunningly unserious proposal is not going to be the answer.”
“It’s not going anywhere. As I said, it’s dead almost before it’s born,” Schumer said.
His remarks came as newly minted House Speaker Mike Johnson met with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill Wednesday, to introduce himself and discuss House plans for Israel funding, aid to Ukraine and funding the government. The GOP-led House is considering a $14.3 billion bill to support Israel, while the White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill want a supplemental bill that would also cover Ukraine and other national security interests.
The measure would be funded by removing funds appropriated to the IRS under the Inflation Reduction Act. Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri emphasized after the meeting with Johnson that the speaker thinks there needs to be a separate Ukraine package, but Israel and Ukraine aid must be separate, and Israel aid must come first.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ben Cardin of Maryland called the proposal a “nonstarter.”
“It’s a nonstarter the way they’re handling this,” Cardin said.
But even if the legislation found some Democratic support in the Senate, President Biden is threatening to veto it. The Office of Management and Budget issued a lengthy statement of administration policy Tuesday, insisting that “bifurcating Israel security assistance from the other priorities in the national security supplemental will have global consequences.”
“If the president were presented with this bill, he would veto it,” OMB said.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement Monday that, “Politicizing our national security interests is a nonstarter.”
Democrats, however, aren’t the only ones critical of the House GOP proposal.
On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office undercut House Republicans’ argument for paying for the bill by cutting IRS funding, suggesting the measure would decrease revenues and increase the deficit. The office pointed out that the IRS funding that would be cut would was designated for enforcement, that is, pursuing tax cheats.
“CBO anticipates that rescinding those funds would result in fewer enforcement actions over the next decade and in a reduction in revenue collections,” the office said in its scoring of the House legislation.
The CBO estimates that the House bill “would decrease outlays by $14.3 billion and decrease revenues by $26.8 billion over the 2024-2033 period, resulting in a net increase in the deficit of $12.5 billion over that period,” the report concluded.
Source : CBS