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US Congress: Domestic political dispute blocks aid to Israel

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As of: November 3, 2023 12:59 am

The goal is clear: billions in US aid to Israel. But Republicans and Democrats argue over how to get there. A new resolution by the House of Representatives has no chance in the Senate.

Domestic political squabbling between Democrats and Republicans in Congress is blocking US aid to Israel. The Republican-dominated US House of Representatives on Thursday (local time) passed a bill with billions in support for Israel. However, the aid comes with conditions that US President Joe Biden and his Democrats reject. The legislative proposals are therefore unlikely to pass the Senate and eventually come into effect.

A few days ago, Biden asked Congress for an aid package worth about 105 billion US dollars (a good 99 billion euros), which provides large-scale support to Israel and Ukraine, among others. However, some Republicans in the House of Representatives have reservations about sending more aid to Ukraine. They wanted to vote separately in favor of Ukraine and Israel.

So the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives split, initially offering a package only to Israel. The draft just approved provides $14.3 billion (€13.46 billion) in aid to Israel. However, to fund this, cuts to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are planned to the same extent. So Biden and his fellow Democrats accuse Republicans of wanting to politicize aid to Israel and try to use it to advance their domestic agenda.

“Very Inadequate”

Biden’s Democrats hold a narrow majority in the Senate, the other chamber of Congress. There the attempt is unlikely to succeed. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said Thursday that the chamber would not take up even the “most flawed” proposal from Republicans. The White House has also announced opposition, and Biden has already threatened to veto the legislation if necessary.

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Behind the controversy lies a fundamental dispute: Republican representatives, particularly from the right-wing fringe, have long opposed the country’s massive government spending and demand more austerity measures. Because of the dispute between the two parties and civil wars among Republicans, it is unclear when the US Congress will approve more aid to Ukraine.

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