republican revolt

House Israel aid bill with IRS cuts was ‘disgusting,’ Max Miller says

‘I think it’s stupid… I think it’s a gimmick’ that is ‘play[ing] games with people’s lives,’ the Jewish Republican said

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Rep. Max Miller (R-OH) leaves for a break during a House Republican Steering Committee meeting at the U.S. Capitol Building.

Rep. Max Miller (R-OH) offered a blistering rebuke of House Republicans’ emergency Israel aid package, which also cut funding from the Internal Revenue Service, in an interview with Jewish Insider.

“Putting any type of cuts to a supplemental package to one of our greatest allies in the world is disgusting,” Miller said. “I think it’s stupid. I’m supportive of Israel — don’t get me wrong, I voted for it — but I think it’s a gimmick.”

He said the bill, and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) were “play[ing] gimmicks with people’s lives.” Miller explained that he voted for the bill to support Israel, despite his concerns. He noted that emergency supplemental bills have not historically included funding offsets.

“He’s playing God with money that is going to help Israeli-Americans and Israelis,” Miller said. “We have Americans who were killed in that attack, we have Americans who are held hostage, and this man doesn’t want to help them — that’s the way I look at it as somebody who is one of two Republican Jews in Congress.”

Johnson and other House Republicans said the offsets were necessary to reign in spending and the federal deficit. Miller said the speaker was playing a losing game with the Senate, which Miller now expects to craft the final aid package.

“Now that you see it’s a gimmick, the Senate won’t pick it up,” Miller continued. “The speaker knew that. He’s trying to play chicken with a body that he’s going to lose with, and we’re going to end up swallowing a huge supplemental now that’s going to include Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and our border. And probably, because he negotiated this so poorly, possibly a humanitarian package that’s going to go to the Palestinian people.”

Miller said that Johnson had “mismanaged this completely,” noting the Congressional Budget Office assessment that determined the IRS cut would increase the deficit more than providing the Israel aid alone.

“Two plus two equals four, and in his brain, two plus two equals five, and how to hurt one of your greatest allies in the world,” Miller said.

Miller told JI this is a common sentiment among Republican colleagues. Some other Republicans have expressed concerns about the House bill, but none as stridently as Miller. All Republicans except Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) voted for the bill. Miller’s criticisms of the bill closely echo those offered by pro-Israel Democrats.

The Jewish Republican said that the House has lost “every time we tried to play chicken with the Senate,” with the exception of this week’s short-term government funding bill, which did not include any of the funding cuts sought by conservatives.

“Once again, we are not in a good negotiating position to negotiate with the Senate,” Miller said. He told JI that Johnson had not communicated to the Republican Conference any plan for responding to a larger supplemental package likely to be sent back by the Senate.

“I don’t think he has a plan, to be very direct,” Miller said. “I think he’s going to lose, and I think we as a conference are going to lose. And I think we are going to get stuck with a supplemental. The Senate can meet and jam all of us with what they want. They’ve been doing it this entire year.”

Miller’s comments cap off a week of growing tensions that once again highlighted the deep divisions within the House Republican Conference — at one point escalating to an alleged physical altercation between a member and former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

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