It may be difficult to imagine these days, but there used to be certain issues that Democrats and Republicans agreed on. Most prominently were those issues that addressed national security and a commitment to our international allies. But in the era of Donald Trump and his MAGA cult, the best interests of America have been scrapped in favor ultra-partisanship and devotion to an aspiring authoritarian figurehead.
Evidence of the degradation of congressional comity is painfully apparent in the proposal by the new Republican Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, to provide emergency humanitarian aid to Israel. While he has only been in the Speaker’s chair for a week, Johnson has already demonstrated that he is an extremist conservative whose priorities could not be farther away from those of the American people.
President Biden has offered a plan to aid Israel in its fight against Hamas terrorists. The plan also includes aid to our allies in Ukraine and funding for border security. But while Senate Republicans and Democrats are both supporting Biden’s proposal, Johnson and Republicans in the House have refused to consider it. They have instead put forward their own bill that pairs the emergency aid for Israel with offsetting cuts to the federal budget, specifically the funding that Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act provided to the IRS.
One of the reasons that Republicans oppose Biden’s proposal is because they object to joining two separate subjects (Israel and Ukraine) in the same bill. But that’s exactly what the GOP is doing with their proposal for aid to Israel combined with slashing IRS funding. So they think that it’s wrong to pair aid for two allies whose people are being slaughtered by terrorist aggressors, but it’s okay to pair humanitarian aid with a budget cut that will allow wealthy American tax cheats to get away with their crimes. Good to know.
What’s more, Republicans are framing their phony legislation as offsetting the aid for Israel with federal budget cuts elsewhere. But cutting the IRS budget will only reduce the revenue that the agency is able to generate. Which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates would be $200 billion over a decade. So the effect of the GOP bill is to increase the deficit by spending on aid for Israel, and increasing the deficit even more by further reducing revenue.
This is a double hit on the debt that leaves our allies in Ukraine in grave peril, and lets the tax cheats who finance Republican campaigns off the hook. But that isn’t all. It would also make it harder for the IRS to investigate and sanction unlawful funding for worldwide terrorism. And because the GOP bill has little chance of passing in the Senate or getting the President’s signature, it is also imperiling the aid to Israel. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed these matters saying that…
“Politicizing our national security interests is a nonstarter. Demanding offsets for meeting core national security needs of the United States – like supporting Israel and defending Ukraine from atrocities and Russian imperialism – would be a break with the normal, bipartisan process and could have devastating implications for our safety and alliances in the years ahead.”
Make no mistake, Republicans don’t care about Israel or Ukraine or the deficit or even border security. They are focused solely on throwing a monkey wrench into anything that Biden proposes. It’s a brazenly political ploy to create legislative chaos, and then try to blame Biden and Democrats for it. They tried that before with the debt ceiling and the government shutdown, but it didn’t work. Undeterred, they still think that they will be able to attack Democrats for voting against the aid for Israel, even though it was the Republicans’ deliberate poison pill in the bill that doomed it to failure.
The American people, however, are smarter than Republicans give them credit for. And the GOP will be exposed for, once again, putting party before country, even at the expense of innocent lives. This is the agenda of the new GOP Speaker and the razor-thin Republican majority in the House. And their callousness, greed, hypocrisy, and anti-Americanism will not be forgotten when voters go to the polls next November.
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