Biden Administration Set On Jeopardizing House GOP Israel Spending Bill

The White House announced on October 31 that President Joe Biden will reject the House GOP measure that would have provided supplementary funds to Israel while stripping financing to the Internal Revenue Service.

The proposal would provide Israel with $14.3 billion in aid after terrorist strikes from Hamas and Hezbollah impacted the country and have an extensive counterattack planned in Gaza.

Democrats oppose the bill because it would cut off the same amount of money for the IRS allocated under the Inflation Reduction Act.

The proposal would reduce revenues by $26.8 billion over the next decade, as determined by the Congressional Budget Office, leading to a net increase in the deficit of $12.5 billion.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is part of the White House, griped in a statement that “rather than putting forward a package that strengthens American national security in a bipartisan way, the bill fails to meet the urgency of the moment by deepening our divides and severely eroding historic bipartisan support for Israel’s security.”

OMB warned that the bill “inserts partisanship into support for Israel, making our ally a pawn in our politics, at a moment we must stand together” and omits humanitarian assistance for Palestinians.

The agency added that by restricting IRS funding, the bill sets a new and dangerous precedent by conditioning assistance for Israel, further politicizing America’s support and treating one ally differently from the other.

The bill allocates $4.4 billion for defense maintenance until September 30, 2025, the end of the 2024-2025 fiscal year. The Secretary of Defense must notify Congress of the funds transfer at least 15 days beforehand.

Israel’s procurement of army ammunition is authorized to get $801.4 million, navy weapon acquisitions are qualified to receive $10 million, and air force missile acquisitions are authorized to receive $38.6 million, all of which may be spent until September 30, 2026, the conclusion of the 2025-2026 fiscal year.

Iron Dome missile defense and David’s Sling air defense systems get $4 billion in the bill, which may be spent until September 30, 2026. While no specific funding has been allocated to the Arrow missile defense system.

However, money is fungible, and Air Force missile procurement may undoubtedly be used for that crucial element of Israel’s defense systems.

There is $1.35 billion for research, development, testing, and evaluating Israel’s defense, for use until September 30, 2025, $1.2 billion of which can be used to develop the Iron Beam defense system, which is meant to intercept short-range missiles.

In addition, the bill allocates $3.65 billion, which may be spent until September 30, 2025, for United States State Department operations in Israel.

The House is expected to pass the bill on November 2. Democrats in the House have urged their caucus to reject it. According to Senate Appropriations Chairwoman and the Senate President Pro Tempore, Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the measure has little chance of passing the Senate.

The OMB has urged Congress to approve President Biden’s request for emergency funds, bolstering efforts to secure the border and provide aid to Israel, Ukraine, and the Indo-Pacific. It also requests humanitarian assistance for Gaza, which Hamas controls, and Israel.