House Rejects Israel Aid Bill Amid Border Package Dispute

Credits: Middle East Monitor

On Tuesday, the House witnessed a failed attempt to pass a stand-alone bill aimed at providing aid to Israel. This development unfolded amidst intense congressional discord over a bipartisan Senate border bill that encompassed foreign aid not only to Israel but also to Ukraine and Taiwan.

The vote, with a tally of 250-180, fell short of the required two-thirds majority for approval under an expedited consideration process, presenting a substantial hurdle.

The bill, which included $17.6 billion in military aid to Israel and funding for U.S. forces in the region, encountered resistance, particularly from Democrats who argued that it was politically motivated.

Israel Aid Bill Rejected (Credits: USA Today)

They pointed out that a bipartisan Senate group had already reached a separate agreement addressing aid to Israel, the southern border, and assistance to Ukraine. In contrast, Republicans, led by former President Donald Trump, rejected this deal.

Representative Jim Himes of Connecticut, the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, labeled the effort a “profoundly cynical, political maneuver.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee, who contended that the stand-alone bill aimed to preempt the Senate’s bipartisan security supplemental.

After the vote, Speaker Mike Johnson criticized the White House and congressional Democrats, accusing them of using Israel aid as leverage for advancing other less consensual priorities.

The defeat marked the second setback for House GOP leadership on the same day, following the failure of a vote to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas just before the consideration of the Israel aid bill.

The decision to hold a separate vote on Israel was announced by Johnson after the Senate tentative immigration deal. The Senate subsequently released a text combining Israel and Ukraine aid with a package of stricter border security and asylum laws.

The stand-alone Israel bill faced opposition from both Democratic and Republican members, with Democrats and conservative House Freedom Caucus criticizing its perceived lack of fiscal offsets.

Despite the administration’s formal veto threat to the stand-alone Israel aid bill, the Biden administration had previously worked with a bipartisan Senate group on comprehensive legislation addressing border security aid to Ukraine and Israel.

The Office of Management and Budget emphasized the importance of treating the security of Israel as sacred, criticizing the stand-alone bill as a political maneuver.

The dynamics surrounding this legislative episode reflect broader tensions within the GOP, with Trump signaling a desire for change in party leadership.

The interplay between internal party dynamics, legislative maneuvers, and foreign aid priorities has created a complex political landscape with implications for the GOP’s stance on key issues, including national security and immigration policy.

The outcome of this vote and the subsequent developments will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of Republican politics in the coming weeks.

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