Latest News 02-11-2023 12:03 5 Views

Showdown likely between House and Senate as congress remains divided on Israel, Ukraine aid

Talks among Republicans in Congress are already underway for another route to split up aid for Israel and Ukraine aid, as the House's $14.3 billion Israel-only aid proposal is likely to be dead-on-arrival in the Senate, sources told Fox News Digital Wednesday afternoon. 

'We need to come up with a different package to move forward that has the ability to get through the Democrat controlled Senate and signed into law by a president, who is also a Democrat,' a senate aide told Fox News Digital Wednesday. 

'Some people are concerned about Ukraine. Some people are going about the border. Some people are concerned about money for Hamas,' an aide said. 'So, everyone has their own reasons as to why they are concerned about the large package, but it is a pretty evenly split amongst the party.'

House Republicans debuted their version of the emergency bill on Monday giving $14.3 billion in aid to Israel, while cutting into cash President Biden allocated toward the IRS last year.

The 13-page bill would offset the foreign aid by rescinding those funds from the Inflation Reduction Act passed last year. Specifically, it targets part of the $80 billion the package gave to the IRS. The bill mirrors a GOP package introduced by Sens. Roger Marshall, Ted Cruz, JD Vance and Mike Lee in the upper chamber last week, which would also provide $14.3 billion to Israel.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., — who has been advocating for the aid package to remain separate — supports the House's bill. 

'We have a Republican-majority House, and what we should be doing as Republican senators is support our Republican majority in the House,' Scott told Fox News Digital in an interview. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., criticized the House's bill on the Senate floor Tuesday. Schumer called the package 'woefully inadequate' and denounced its offset provisions as 'poison pills that increase the deficit and help wealthy tax cheats avoid paying their fair share.'

The House's bill could put Democrats in a tough spot between the political fallout of rejecting Israel aid and the bill’s removal of funds from Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

When it comes to the Senate's version, Scott said he doesn't think 'they will have the votes necessary to get the Ukraine aid done' without stronger border security policies implemented. A number of GOP senators in recent days have been outspoken about their opposition to more federal dollars sent to the border without policy reforms.

'If we do Ukraine aid, then we do ought to do it in a manner that is tied completely to incrementally giving them the aid as we actually get real border security, which I completely support,' Scott said. 'If Chuck Schumer wants to get aid to Ukraine, we're going to have border security, otherwise, it's not going to happen.'

Meanwhile, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been advocating for the package to remain cohesive despite dwindling support for Ukraine within the GOP, calling it a 'global' war against countries like Russia, China and Iran who oppose democratic nations. 

The total amount requested from Biden is roughly $105 billion. It includes $61.4 billion for Ukraine; $14.3 billion for Israel (with $10.6 billion allocated for military aid); $13.6 billion for 'border protection' such as speeding up processing asylum seekers; and significant investments in Indo-Pacific security assistance, totaling around $7.4 billion. Additionally, there's $9 billion earmarked for humanitarian aid in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza.

Fox News' Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.


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