A dozen House Democrats on Thursday evening joined with nearly every Republican in the chamber to approve legislation that would provide $14.3 in military aid to Israel while cutting an equal amount from IRS funding that would be used to target wealthy individuals who avoid taxes — a cut to the agency that would act as a revenue destroyer, not an offset.
Despite the bill being dead-on-arrival in the U.S. Senate, it passed the House in a 226-196 vote, with 12 Democrats voting in favor along with 214 Republicans, and just two Republicans voting with the 194 Democrats who said nay. President Joe Biden has also vowed to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
Dubbing the House Democrats who crossed the aisle as the “Tax Cheat Twelve,” David Dayen of The American Prospect detailed in his coverage how the group “received a combined $8 million in campaign support from [pro-Israel lobby group] AIPAC and its affiliates last year.”
The Democrats who voted with Republicans are: Reps. Josh Gottheimer (N.J.), Jared Moskowitz (Fla.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), Lois Frankel (Fla.), Jared Golden (Me.), Juan Vargas (Calif.), Angie Craig (Minn.), Darren Soto (Fla.), Haley Stevens (Mich.), Frederica Wilson (Fla.), Don Davis (N.C.) and Greg Landsman (Ohio).
While the bill has little or no chance of becoming law, Dayen observed that the group “stuck to their principles” by joining with the Republicans anyway.
Defenders of Palestinian rights horrified by the ongoing onslaught in Gaza criticized all those who voted in favor of the bill.
Congress saw thousands of Palestinian civilians being butchered, refugee camps demolished, hospitals bombarded, journalists assassinated and thought: “We aren’t funding this enough.” https://t.co/7U7Mx4mgdb— Dr. Omar Suleiman (@omarsuleiman504) November 2, 2023
Progressive Democrats — including Reps. Tashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), and Summer Lee (D-Pa.) — spoke out forcefully against funding Israeli military operations at a time the IDF is bombing the besieged Gaza Strip without mercy following the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7 that claimed as many as 1,400 lives. Latest figures put the Palestinian death toll in Gaza well above 9,000 people, including nearly 4,000 children, with thousands more wounded or missing under the rubble.
“The American people do not support funding for war crimes — like the use of white phosphorus bombs — and are calling for a ceasefire,” Tlaib said in a statement following Thursday night’s vote.
“As the Israeli government carries out ethnic cleansing in Gaza, President Biden is cheering on Netanyahu, whose own citizens are protesting his refusal to support a ceasefire,” she continued. “We must be laser focused on saving lives, no matter their faith or ethnicity. The number of children killed in Gaza in just three weeks has surpassed the annual number of children killed across the world’s conflict zones since 2019 — yet instead of helping end this violence, President Biden baselessly casts doubt on the Palestinian death toll.”
Earlier this week, as Common Dreams reported, a CBO score of the proposal showed that the $14.3 billion cut to the IRS would actually slash federal revenues by $27 billion.
So much for the math skills of the new GOP majority leadership. Just like their tax cuts for the rich rhetoric. Bad, bad math. https://t.co/ReOv6VOFXe— Mark Pocan (@MarkPocan) November 1, 2023
Explaining her no vote, Congresswoman Bush tweeted, “I was sent to Congress to save lives, I was not sent to Congress to have my constituent’s tax dollars buy bombs to kill thousands of innocent Palestinian men, women, and children. We choose peace and love.”
And Rep. Summer Lee said: “I refuse to spend more money on weapons of war and tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy at the expense of children in Pennsylvania, Gaza, and Israel when what is needed now is investment in American families, de-escalation of violence, diplomacy, and humanitarian aid.”
According to Tlaib, increased U.S. military aid for the Israel while it carries out the attack on Gaza, with no humanitarian conditions, takes “us farther away from ending the violence and reaching peace” in the region.
“Achieving a just and lasting peace requires lifting the blockade, ending the occupation, and dismantling the dehumanizing system of apartheid,” Tlaib said. “Not only do some of my colleagues want to send more weapons to carry out war crimes and violations of international law, but they want to do it by providing tax breaks to billionaires and undermining crucial investments in our communities. Instead of funding more bombs with American taxpayer dollars, our leaders should be calling for a ceasefire now, before this violence claims thousands more lives.”
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