House Republicans introduce separate Israel aid bill, leaving Ukraine out
US House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson. Photo: EPA

US House Republicans, led by newly elected speaker Mike Johnson, on Monday unveiled a USD 14.3 billion Israel aid plan, in a blow to the White House’s plans to bundle it with assistance to Ukraine, Bloomberg reports.

The package, which separates the Israel aid from other additional funding requests, including for Taiwan, border security, and Ukraine, also leaves out humanitarian assistance for civilians in Gaza and Israel that the White House had requested.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration asked Congress to approve USD 106 billion in additional aid, including more than USD 61 billion for Ukraine and USD 14.3 billion for Israel, attacked by the Hamas terrorist group several weeks ago.

The Republicans propose that the money be taken from the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, namely the reduction in funding for the Internal Revenue Service, a tax enforcement agency.

Conservatives, including Mr Johnson himself, have long been critical of spending more on tax agencies, which Democrats say helps cut the federal deficit by capturing revenue lost to tax cheats.

“The offsetting cuts are a break with precedent since Congress typically doesn’t cut other programs to pay for emergency spending,” per Bloomberg.

The House speaker discussed the package with Mr Biden last week, which seems to have caused a sharp reaction from the White House, condemning “demanding offsets for meeting core national security needs of the United States”.

Separating Ukraine funds from the Israel aid, which enjoys a more secure bipartisan support in Congress, runs the risk that the American lawmakers might fail to continue help for the country’s fight against Russia’s full-scale invasion.

The United States is by far the largest donor of military and financial support for Ukraine, having allocated approximately USD 45 billion in military equipment since Russia’s full-scale invasion last February.