Senate Dems Block Republican Bid to Aid Israel, Not Ukraine

Tuesday, Senate Democrats blocked a GOP effort to win rapid approval for a bill providing emergency aid to Israel that passed the House of Representatives last week but does not assist in Ukraine’s war against Russia. 

GOP Senator Roger Marshall said, “Time is of the essence, and it’s imperative that the Senate not delay delivering this crucial aid to Israel another day.”

Democrats objected and stressed the importance of providing aid to Ukraine and Israel, in addition to humanitarian aid, money to push back against China in the Indo-Pacific, and border security funding that was in a $106 billion funding request President Joe Biden sent to Congress last month.

They also accused Republicans in the House of playing politics with the Israel crisis, delaying aid for the Jewish State by tying support to cutting funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a favorite target for the GOP, rather than writing a bipartisan bill.

The House legislation would provide $14.3 billion for Israel as it continues to respond to a deadly October 7 attack by Islamist Hamas militants and also cut the same amount of money from the IRS. The funds included $4 billion for the procurement of Israel’s Iron Dome and David’s Sling defense systems to counter short-range rocket threats, along with some transfers of equipment from U.S. stocks.

“Our allies in Ukraine can no more afford a delay than our allies in Israel,” said the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Patty Murray. 

House votes mainly along party lines

The vote in the House was primarily along party lines. Democrats called the proposed IRS cuts a politically motivated “poison pill” that would increase the budget deficit of the United States by cutting back on tax collection. They also said it was essential to continue to support Ukraine.

To become a law, legislation must pass the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, as well as the GOP-majority House, and be signed into law by President Joe Biden, a Democrat. The White House said Biden would veto the House legislation.

Leaders in the Senate are writing their supplemental funding bill and hope to introduce it as early as this week.

Several weeks ago, the White House presented a wide-reaching package of $105 billion, tying together $61 billion in aid for Ukraine with about $14 billion for Israel, along with other items. 

The plan encountered opposition from House Republicans and new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, who said backing Tel Aviv in its fight against Hamas has priority and proposed an additional Israel funding bill.

To become a law, the bill would need to pass both the Senate and the House and be signed by President Joe Biden, who said he would veto the motion if it passes through Congress.