Photo Credit: Mike Johnson’s Facebook
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), October 28, 2023.

Here’s a shocker: while House votes on aid to Israel (same as Senate votes) usually pass with near-unanimous approval, on Thursday night, the House measure to provide $14.3 billion in additional aid to Israel which could help it fray its projected $19 billion war deficit was passed by only 226-196.

“It provides Israel with the aid it needs to defend itself, free its hostages, and eradicate Hamas, which is a mission that must be accomplished,” freshly-elected Republican Speaker Mike Johnson told reporters, “All of this while we also work to ensure responsible spending and reduce the size of the federal government to pay for that commitment to our friend and ally.”


Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky) voted against the bill because they don’t want the US helping other countries. It’s well known that Georgia and Kentucky Girl Scouts don’t ever knock on their door looking to sell them cookies.

The problem the Democrats saw in the bill was not that it helped Israel, but that it would cost the US almost double its worth in deficit spending. Even Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a truer friend of Israel does not exist on Capitol Hill, criticized the way House Speaker Johnson is planning to pay for it: by cutting funding for the IRS.

The result, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would be a $26.8 billion deficit over the next decade.

How did Illinois’ Republican Congressman Everett Dirksen (1896 – 1969) allegedly put it (huge disputes among political historians on that one): ” A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

Or, as Schumer put it: “It still mystifies me that when the world is in crisis and we need to help Israel respond to Hamas, the GOP thought it was a good idea to tie Israel aid to a hard-right proposal that will raise the deficit and is totally, totally partisan.”

What he meant was, of course, that if IRS funding for putting more and better-equipped agents in the field is sent to Israel, more rich fat cats will get away with paying lower taxes. Be that as it may, 1932 still called asking to get its political idiom back.

Most Democrats followed Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) who criticized the fact that the new aid bill completely sidesteps Ukraine which is still engaged in a battle to the death against Russia. It brings up the question of whether the US is capable of spending such enormous amounts to fund two proxy wars without suffering long-term consequences to its economy.

Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fl), 2023. / House Creative Services

One of the 12 Democrats who supported the aid bill, Lois Frankel who represents Palm Beach and West Palm Beach, Florida, said in a statement after the vote that Congress must “send an unequivocal message to the world that we stand with Israel. The United States has a moral duty and national security urgency to aid Israel in defending herself. Make no mistake, Hamas terrorists and others in the region are out to destroy Israel and kill all Jews.”

Yes, they are.

Frankel, 75, who was born on the Lower East Side one day after the State of Israel (May 16, 1948), supported former President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there. We need more Democrats like her on the Hill.

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