Mike Johnson, the newly-installed Speaker of the House, has already proposed an ambitious emergency defense funding plan that will support Israel in its fight against Hamas.
However, most senators who have spoken on the issue have said that it’s basically a non-starter in the upper chamber, where Democrats are in control.
As part of Johnson’s plan, funding to Israel would be separate from that to Ukraine. In addition, the $14.3 billion in aid to Israel would be offset by cuts to the Internal Revenue Service budget.
While much of the attention has been turned toward the Senate about the proposal, it’s not even certain whether it would make it out of the House, where Republicans only hold a majority of four seats.
Even if it does get out of the House, though, it’s likely not going anywhere in the Senate.
This week, Ben Cardin, the Democratic representative from Maryland who’s the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that proposal would be dead on arrival in his chamber. He said the reason was because of the fact that the IRS’ budget would get cut to offset the aid to Israel.
As he said:
“It’s a non-starter. It’s a poison pill.”
It’s not just Democrats like Cardin who are against it, though.
Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – as well as Republican Senators Roger Wicker and Lindsey Graham – said they don’t like the fact that the proposal calls for funding to Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific be split into different packages.
Wicker, who’s on the GOP leadership team in the Senate and is the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said on Monday that it’d be “the most prudent move” to keep all of America’s priorities for national security tied together.
As he explained:
“I’m open to suggestions, but I think it’s important that we do border, Ukraine, Israel and give Taiwan what they need, also.”
He did seem more neutral on discovering new offsets that would reduce the impact that foreign aid would have on the U.S. deficit. He added:
“There’s plenty of room … for offsets” in the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden as a way to boost investments in things such as renewable energy.
Last week, Graham commented:
“We got national security issues that are all connected up. I’d like to do it all at once.”
Other Republican senators said that if the GOP were to go back-and-forth with Democrats on offsets, it would almost assuredly slow down all emergency military aid, which could leave both Ukraine and Israel without the weapons they need at what are critical times for them.
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, who sits on the Appropriations Committee, said:
“Realistically speaking, it’s going to be challenging. We all know how hard it is to find offsets of substance. This is real money we’re talking about. If you’re looking at trying to offset the entire package, I think that’s going to be a real challenge for that.
“We’re operating with a pretty tight timeframe in order to move something.”