House Republicans tacked on a pretty unusual addendum to their aid package for Israel: In exchange for $14.3 billion to the U.S. ally, the GOP wants to cut $14.3 billion from the IRS budget.
The spending cut is not just an unusual addition to an emergency aid package, it will also likely backfire for the party platform as it may very well increase the national deficit. Democrats are expected to reject the bill outright.
The effort, however, underscores exactly how extreme the Republican Party has gotten, particularly under Speaker Mike Johnson’s new leadership.
“We’re going to have to pay for it. We’re not just going to print money and send it overseas,” Johnson told Fox’s Kayleigh McEnany, arguing that standing with the “innocent” in Israel is more aligned with the national interest than “IRS agents.”
As it stands, the bill would gut additional IRS funding allocated in the Inflation Reduction Act. The cuts would target parts of an IRS expansion that include tax enforcement, operations support, free filing for taxpayers, an office of tax policy, and tax court, reported The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein. The Congressional Budget Office has repeatedly warned that cutting IRS funding will encourage tax cheating and increase the deficit. The CBO has also estimated that the Inflation Reduction Act’s $80 billion IRS expansion will actually reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion.
“The IRS has recovered over $100 million in unpaid taxes from the wealthy and well-connected in the last month. Yet, in the chaotic world of my Republican colleagues, they view this funding as a never-ending well to promulgate their whims of ‘fiscal responsibility,’ protect billionaires and wealthy corporations, and ultimately, cost taxpayers more,” Representative Richard Neal told Fox News’s Chad Pergram.
Senate leadership also torpedoed the bill, arguing that apart from the unlikely spending cut, Congress should be focusing on passing an all-inclusive emergency aid package for U.S. allies around the globe.
“We believe, our Democratic Caucus, we should be doing all of it together: Israel, Ukraine, South Pacific, etc. And obviously a pay-for like that makes it much harder to pass,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, according to Politico.