US senators from both parties expressed skepticism Tuesday about House Republicans’ plan to provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel by cutting funding to the Internal Revenue Service, which does not provide aid to Ukraine, and the Democratic President Joe Biden has threatened to veto the bill if it passes. .
In the first major legislative action under new Speaker Mike Johnson, House Republicans on Monday unveiled a standalone supplemental spending bill just for Israel.
This is despite President Joe Biden’s request for a $106 billion package that would include aid for Israel and Ukraine and funding to boost China’s competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific as well as security on the United States’ border with Mexico.
Republicans have a 221-212 majority in the House, but Biden’s fellow Democrats control the Senate 51-49. To become law, the bill must pass the House and Senate and be signed by Biden.
The Senate’s top Democrat said the Republican bill would die on reaching the upper chamber, even if it passes the House.
“The bottom line is this is not a serious proposal,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters.
The administration has said Biden would veto such a bill if it reached his desk.
“This bill is bad for Israel, for the Middle East region, and for our own national security,” the White House Office of Management and Budget said.
Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, said he felt it was necessary to address all four issues.
“We have to talk about these four areas, all four of them: Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and the border,” McConnell told reporters.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Johnson on Tuesday after testifying in the Senate. At the hearing, Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Ukraine needs continued US aid to win its fight against Russian aggressors.
Blinken told reporters: “It was a very good meeting. I appreciate the opportunity. I will leave our conversation.”
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said they discussed issues such as Biden’s request for support for Ukraine and Israel.
Republicans are expected to pass the legislation in the House this week.