OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
With legislation to provide billions in new funding for Israel and corresponding cuts in federal spending, House Speaker Mike Johnson is attempting to restore some fiscal sanity in the GOP-controlled House.
The Louisiana Republican moved legislation to provide $14.8 billion in assistance to Israel, which is locked in a war against Hamas after the terrorist group launched a surprise attack against the Jewish state a month ago, killing nearly 1,400 people. Twelve Democrats broke ranks and joined nearly all Republicans in passing the measure, despite a veto threat from President Joe Biden.
The legislation also calls for identical spending cuts in funds meant for the Internal Revenue Service, which has been a priority for the GOP.
During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Johnson fired back at Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who dismissed the Speaker’s legislative move as not “serious.”
“The proposal is simply not a serious one, and worse, it still wastes precious time at a moment when we need to help Israel and Ukraine and send humanitarian aid to Gaza ASAP,” Schumer said.
Johnson noted that the White House had also requested tens of millions of dollars more for Ukraine, so it was “really surprising to hear Sen. Schumer say that it’s not a serious proposal.”
“What they don’t like is that in the House, we’re trying to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ resources,” he added. “We offset that spending. Instead of printing new dollars and/or borrowing it from another nation to send over to fulfill our obligations and help our ally, we want to pay for it. What a concept, and we’re trying to change how Washington works.”
“And so, by taking that money from this giant fund—over $65 billion that’s sitting there to build up the IRS—we weighed those priorities and said, You know what? It’s more important to protect Israel right now than it is to hire more IRS agents,” he continued.
“Apparently, Senator Schumer disagrees with that. But I’ll take that debate to the American people all day long,” he added.
The Daily Wire noted further:
The House Republican measure aims to further cut the budget of the IRS after President Joe Biden secured $80 billion through the Inflation Reduction Act to bolster and modernize the agency over 10 years — with an agenda to commit more than half of the money to enforcement, particularly in going after wealthy tax evaders — only for up to $21.4 billion to get clawed back as part of a debt ceiling deal in June.
Schumer claimed the House GOP plan “wastes precious time at a moment when we need to help Israel, Ukraine and send humanitarian aid to Gaza ASAP.” He vowed Senate would ignore it and “work on our own bipartisan emergency aid package that includes funding for aid to Israel, Ukraine, humanitarian aid including for Gaza, and competition with the Chinese Government.”
Johnson also shrugged off a Congressional Budget Office analysis that claimed his offset strategy would decrease revenues by $26.8 billion over 10 years and therefore increase the federal deficit by $12.5 billion over that time period.
“Only in Washington can you cut funding, add a pay-for to a new spending measure, and they say it’s terrible for the deficit,” he told host Shannon Bream, referencing the more than $33.5 trillion national debt.
“Listen, we’re taking care of our priorities and we will. We know that these other important measures that right there on the table and we’re working through it hour by hour, day-by-day and we’re going to meet those obligations. But we have to do things in the proper order and we are committed to changing how Washington works,” he continued.
“I think you see a united and energized House conference. All of our members are working together in good faith trying to solve these great challenges that we face, and I’m very optimistic that we’re going to do that. But we are going to also change the trajectory we’re on,” Johnson said.