House GOP Wants $14.3 Billion in Israel Aid to Be Paid for by Cuts to Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act

Jackson Richman
By Jackson Richman
October 30, 2023Congress

The U.S. House, where Republicans hold a small majority, on Oct. 30 released its supplemental bill to send assistance to Israel, which has been under a barrage of attacks by the terrorist group Hamas since Oct. 7.

The measure allocates the $14.3 billion requested by the Biden administration, but offsets that amount with the same number in cuts to IRS funding under the Inflation Reduction Act—a nonstarter for Democrats.

The bill allocates $4.4 billion for defense maintenance through Sept. 30, 2025, which is the end of the 2024-2025 fiscal year. The Secretary of Defense would be required to notify Congress of the transfer of funds “not less than” 15 days beforehand.

The legislation sets aside $801.4 million—which can be used until Sept. 30, 2026, the end of the 2025-2026 fiscal year—for Israel procuring army ammunition, $10 million for naval weapons acquisitions, and $38.6 million for air force missile procurement.

Most notably, the bill allocates $4 billion—which can be used until Sept. 30, 2026—for the Iron Dome missile defense and David’s Sling air defense systems. There is no specific funding for the Arrow missile defense systems, though money is fungible and it is likely that air force missile procurement could 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 Sept. 30, 2025—$1.2 billion of which can be used for developing the Iron Beam defense system, which is designed to intercept short-range rockets.

Finally, the bill allocates $3.65 billion for State Department operations in Israel that can be used until Sept. 30, 2025.

The House is expected to pass the bill on Nov. 2. While Democrats have called for pairing assistance to Israel with aid to Ukraine, Republicans have said the two should be dealt with separately. However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have called for Ukraine and Israel assistance to be passed simultaneously.

U.S. assistance to Israel goes back to two years before the Jewish state declared its independence in 1948. Israel got economic assistance between 1971 and 2007. The United States gave Israel more than $114.4 billion in military assistance between 1946 and 2023, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. Congress gives Israel $3.8 billion annually, $3.3 billion of which is defense assistance.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled on Oct. 31 to hear from Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about the Biden administration’s supplemental funding requests, which also include aid to Ukraine, immigration assistance, humanitarian aid for Israel, Gaza, and Ukraine, and assistance to the Indo-Pacific amid the threat from China.

From The Epoch Times

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