White House slams House GOP’s Israel aid package: ‘The definition of backwards’

The White House quickly dismissed a proposal Monday from House Republicans to pay for aid for Israel amid its war with Hamas by cutting funds for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“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,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

The White House last week outlined a roughly $106 billion national security supplemental funding request that included money for Israel and Ukraine, which is fighting off invading Russian forces, as well as investments in the Indo-Pacific, humanitarian aid and border security measures.

Jean-Pierre argued there is “strong bipartisan agreement” in providing funding for each of the areas included in the White House proposal.

“Threatening to undermine American national security unless House Republicans can help the wealthy and big corporations cheat on their taxes — which would increase the deficit — is the definition of backwards,” Jean-Pierre said.

“Playing political games that threaten the source of funding for Israel’s self-defense — now and into the future — would set an unacceptable precedent that calls our commitment to one of our closest allies into question,” she added. “We cannot afford to jeopardize that commitment as Israel defends itself from the evil unleashed by Hamas.”

The cuts proposed in the GOP package unveiled Monday would affect funds included in the Inflation Reduction Act, a sweeping tax, health and climate bill signed into law last year as one of President Biden’s signature policy accomplishments.

The package also deviates from the White House’s strategy of linking aid for Ukraine and Israel in the same piece of legislation, which could make it even more difficult to get the bill over the finish line.

The legislation includes $4 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome and David’s Sling defense systems and another $1.2 billion for development of the Iron Beam defense system.

The package is one of the first pieces of legislation introduced under Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who assumed the top job last week after a brutal battle over who should succeed former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) following his ouster.

The House Rules Committee will take up the legislation Wednesday. It faces steep odds of making it to Biden’s desk, as it would need to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, where lawmakers have expressed a desire to link support for Ukraine and Israel.

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