The Israel-Hamas war continues to rage on while members of Congress are squabbling over sending aid to help in Israel’s effort to eliminate the terrorist organization. Despite lawmakers from both parties expressing solidarity with the Jewish state, they have failed to come to an agreement on the matter.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gave a behind-the-scenes look at the debate over sending aid to Israel and gave some insights as to why Democrats continue blocking legislation that would assist America’s ally. During an episode of his podcast, “The Verdict,” the lawmaker expressed frustration over the Democrats blocking aid to Israel, especially considering the bipartisan support it had received in the House.
He accused the Biden administration of essentially trying to use Israel to advance other left-wing agenda items as well. “Not only does the Biden administration want to tie critical aid for Israel to Ukraine, but also more broadly to their efforts to increase illegal immigration,” Cruz said.
Cruz noted that the vote on the funding came down to a straight party-line vote:
“And the amazing thing is it was a straight party-line vote, which means every single one of those Democrats I named was the deciding vote. Literally, if one Democrat had voted were with us, this was a 50-vote threshold, so one Democrat could have passed this. But every Democrat voted no. And it was a moment of clarity. And I think a moment of clarity that will come down to the election next year, where the Democrats have made clear that partisan politics matters more to them than standing with Israel right now.”
Cruz also lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who prevented a vote on emergency military aid to Jerusalem. “[Schumer] was single-handedly preventing a vote on emergency military aid to Israel,” Cruz said, also noting that Schumer was “not willing to give up the funding for the army of 87,000 IRS agents.”
Cruz said Schumer “values harassing political enemies of the White House more than military aid for Israel.”
It appears Cruz might be right. On the other side of the coin, Democrats have expressed objections to cutting funding for the IRS, which they argued as a politically motivated “poison pill.” They also insisted that aid to Israel should be tied to a package sending aid to Ukraine in its war against Russia.
Democrats objected, stressing the importance of providing aid to Ukraine as well as Israel, in addition to humanitarian aid, border security funding and money to push back against China in the Indo-Pacific that was in a $106 billion funding request President Joe Biden sent to Congress last month.
They also accused House Republicans of playing politics with the crisis in Israel, delaying aid for the Jewish State by tying support to cutting funding for the Internal Revenue Service, a favorite target for Republicans, rather than writing a bipartisan bill.
The House bill would provide $14.3 billion for Israel as it responds to a deadly Oct. 7 attack by Islamist Hamas militants, but also cut the same amount of money from the IRS. The funds would include $4 billion for procurement of Israel’s Iron Dome and David’s Sling defense systems to counter short-range rocket threats as well as some transfers of equipment from U.S. stocks.
While this might be the objection of most Democrats in Congress, it is also worth remembering that many left-wing lawmakers are opposing aid simply because they oppose Israel. The anti-Israel faction in the Democratic Party is smaller but louder. “Democrats are getting blasted by the anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, radical antisemitic left — the Squad — and so they’re all nervous,” Sen. Cruz said on his podcast.
Of course, as Cruz also noted, the Democrats will take very little heat in the media for this vote. “Many of the corrupt corporate media are openly cheering for Hamas. And so, Democrats can cast spectacularly foolish votes and know their constituents will never know about it.”
The question is: Will the parties manage to hammer out a deal? For Republicans, sending aid to Israel should be a non-negotiable aspect of U.S. foreign policy. Conversely, Democrats seem to view the matter through the lens of broader policy objectives, namely, bolstering the IRS while ensuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky still gets his cut.