New Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) is off to a strong start, bringing to vote and passing a bill that grants nearly $14.5 billion in aid to Israel on Thursday, November 2. By both tying the aid to the $80 billion granted to the IRS by the Inflation Reduction act and bringing 12 House Democrats on board, the new speaker, who had largely flown under the radar until last week, showed he is, indeed, up to the task. And by promising to kill the bill as soon as possible, President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) revealed the hypocrisy of their party leadership and the hollowness of their virtue signaling over Israel.
A Bold Move by Speaker Johnson – But Not Unprecedented
The question that seemed to be on everyone’s lips after the long-awaited conclusion of the speaker battle is, to quote Liberty Nation’s Tim Donner, “Who the heck is Mike Johnson?” Well, he didn’t make us wait long to find out. Barely a week after first gripping the gavel, Johnson brought to vote a bill that simultaneously meets the amount Biden asked for, prevents a new appropriation of tax funds, and cuts into the controversial $80 billion in additional IRS funding from the Inflation Reduction Act – and he did so with actual bipartisan support. In short, it was a master stroke – not at all a bad way to begin his speakership, regardless of the fact that the aid package will almost inevitably die in the Senate or, barring that, be vetoed.
It was a bold move – but hardly unprecedented. For all that Democrats and the left-wing media have lambasted him for doing so, Johnson actually took this move out of former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) book.
In 2007, when the Democratic Party largely opposed the Iraq War, Pelosi made a call on a war-funding bill remarkably similar to Johnson’s – only she went even farther. Rather than refusing to bring the spending package to the floor, she attached to it an unrelated 40% increase in the federal minimum wage – an increase that took effect when President Bush signed the amended spending bill.
If It Weren’t for Double Standards …
Back in 2019, then-Speaker Pelosi claimed the Democrat-controlled House passed “more than 275 bipartisan bills” that were then blocked by Senate Republicans. That list, however, includes measures passed with just a single Republican joining the Democrat majority. By comparison, the “Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024” – described by such left-leaning media outlets as NBC and The New York Times as a “mostly party-line” bill – actually passed with bipartisan support from a dozen Democrats.
Now this initiative – which has proven, so far, to be more bipartisan than many of the Democrat-sponsored bills touted as such by Biden – has been shot down by both the president and the Senate majority leader. Biden vowed to veto the bill should it land on his desk – but, of course, it won’t. “I am glad that the president issued a veto threat over this stunningly unserious proposal,” Sen. Schumer said in a floor speech. “The Senate will not be considering this deeply flawed proposal from the House GOP.”
Reps. Angie Craig (MN), Donald G. Davis (NC), Lois Frankel (FL), Jared F. Golden (ME), Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Greg Landsman (OH), Jared Moskowitz (FL), Darren Soto (FL), Haley M. Stevens (MI), Juan Vargas (CA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), and Frederica S. Wilson (FL) were the dozen Democrats who crossed the aisle and voted with almost all the GOP. Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia were the only two Republicans who opposed the bill – though their issue was funding a foreign war at all, not taking money from the $80 billion largesse recently awarded to the IRS to do so.
Funding Israel Is Important – But Not That Important
Joe Biden likes to present himself as a uniter – a president who can bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats in Congress and get the job done. If that were true, however, why would he – and other leaders of the Democratic Party, for that matter – balk at a bill that grants all the funds he asked for Israel? The answer, as is often the case, lies in the difference between actual charity and forced wealth redistribution.
It always seems easier for politicians to be generous with other people’s money. For some strange reason, however, they have a harder time spending so freely when it comes out of their own wallets – or, in this case, the government’s coffers.
Associated Press called the bill, which offers up nearly $14.5 billion to answer the president’s request for $14 billion, “a muscular U.S. response to the war with Hamas but also a partisan approach by new Speaker Mike Johnson that poses a direct challenge to Democrats and President Joe Biden.”
One might argue the accuracy of “partisan approach” – especially given how loosely Democrats have been using the term “bipartisan” – but the rest is about as accurate as it gets. By pulling the funds from the $80 billion earmarked for the IRS in Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, Johnson offers up an answer to the question “where will that money come from?” But he also poses a question of his own to the president and congressional Democrats: Is helping Israel important enough to cut into an unprecedented grant to an executive agency, while still leaving more funding for the IRS than it has ever received in a single year – or, for that matter, over the last six years combined?
A dozen House Democrats showed they prioritized helping America’s ally. But the vast majority, along with the president and party leadership in the Senate, chose the Leviathan. It seems that funding Israel’s war against Hamas, for Biden and his ilk, is only a critical priority if the people can be fleeced a little harder come tax time to pay for it.