U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was one of only two Republicans who voted against Speaker Mike Johnson’s proposal to provide $14.3 billion in emergency aid to Israel using money cut from the IRS budget.
The measure passed 226-196 with all Republicans in favor except Greene and Kentucky’s Thomas Massie. Twelve Democrats voted “yes” on the bill, although none from Georgia. Besides Greene, the rest of the state’s delegation split along party lines with the remaining eight Republicans in favor and all five Democrats opposed.
Greene, a Rome Republican, voted with the vast majority of Democrats but for different reasons than most of them. Most Democrats opposed the GOP-led measure because of the required offsetting cuts to the IRS as a condition for assisting Israel in its war with Hamas.
Greene said she didn’t back the bill because she believes additional money for Israel hasn’t been justified and the U.S. has more pressing needs domestically.
“You see the reason why I voted ‘no’ today, and not that I’ll always be a no for Israel’s defense, is because I’m unapologetically America first,” Greene said in a video posted on her social media. “And today in America, we have an open-border-driven national security crisis.”
Democrats criticized Republicans for taking the unusual step of coupling emergency funding with a spending cut of an equal amount and for refusing to include money for Ukraine. They also pointed out that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said reducing the IRS budget would lead to a $12.5 billion increase in the deficit because it would reduce tax collections.
Senate Leader Chuck Schumer has said the bill is a non-starter in that chamber, and President Joe Biden has promised to veto it if it lands on his desk.
Still, most GOP members heralded their vote as show of support for Israel as it continues its war with Hamas.
“This bill will help is Israel do exactly what it needs to do,” U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Athens, said in a floor speech during debate on the bill. “And that’s defend itself.”