Kansas’ trio of House Republicans support $14.3 billion in military aid to Israel, cuts to IRS
TOPEKA — The three Kansas Republicans in the U.S. House voted Thursday night for a $14.3 billion military aid package for Israel that was combined with a plan to rescind an equivalent amount appropriated to the Internal Revenue Service for hiring of new federal agents.
The GOP-led House adopted the measure 226-196 with support from U.S. Reps. Jake LaTurner, Tracey Mann and Ron Estes of Kansas. Congresswoman Sharice Davids, a Kansas Democrat, voted against what she referred to as “irresponsible and partisan legislation pushed by House leadership.”
The House bill didn’t include aid for Ukraine, humanitarian assistance for Gaza or funding for U.S. border security. It faced bipartisan opposition in the U.S. Senate and a likely veto by President Joe Biden.
LaTurner, who serves the 2nd District of eastern Kansas, said the decision to vote in favor of H.R. 6126 was easy because of the importance of delivering military firepower necessary to “help Israel destroy Hamas.”
Hamas militants attacked Israel Oct. 7 and killed more than 1,400 people. Israel responded with a military campaign that has killed an estimated 9,000 people in Gaza.
“I will not stand by while ruthless terrorists who chant ‘death to America’ continue to kill and kidnap innocent Israelis,” LaTurner said. “The stand-alone package that we passed today provides vital aid to help Israel destroy Hamas, replenish our stockpiles here at home and evacuate americans currently stranded in impacted regions.”
He said it was important to offset expenditures on Israel by clawing back funding earmarked for the IRS, which had been authorized last year by Congress to add more than 80,000 agents to improve investigation of tax violations.
Davids, the 3rd District Democrat representing the Kansas City area, said the House bill “puts political games ahead of both saving innocent lives and America’s national security.” She said the legislation was flawed because it didn’t include humanitarian aid for Gaza and West Bank.
“We must work in a bipartisan manner to ensure security assistance for Israel against Hamas, as we have consistently done during times of conflict,” she said. “I’ll continue working together with Republicans and Democrats to achieve that goal and to deliver the necessary and adequate humanitarian aid to civilians in the Middle East.”
Davids said deletion of IRS funding would result in potential loss of $49 billion in federal tax revenue and would increase the national deficit by $24 billion by granting “breaks to large corporations and the top 1 percent of America’s wealthiest individuals.”
The House measure would deliver $4 billion for Israel’s missile defense systems known as “Iron Dome” and “David’s Sling” as well as $1.2 billion for Israel’s “Iron Beam” system focused on defense against short-range rockets, artillery and mortars.
Separately, $4.4 billion would be dedicated to replenishing U.S. Department of Defense munition and weapon stockpiles.
Mann, the 1st District Republican representing constituents from the Colorado border to Lawrence, said the priority was protection of Israel. He also said Biden should be held responsible for decisions indirectly supportive of terrorist organizations.
“Israel is America’s strongest ally in the Middle East and the region’s only functioning democracy,” Mann said. “We must not sit idly by while our ally suffers brutal attacks from terrorists who want to wipe them off the face of the earth. America’s national security depends, in part, on a free and secure Israel.”