House approves aid bill for Israel but not for Ukraine | ET REALITY


“It provides Israel with the help it needs to defend itself, free its hostages and eradicate Hamas, which is a mission that must be accomplished,” Johnson said at a news conference. “All this while we also work to ensure responsible spending and reduce the size of the federal government to pay for that commitment to our friend and ally.”

His bill posed a dilemma for many pro-Israel Democrats, who were eager to support the Jewish state at a time of crisis but reluctant to accept a bill that omits aid to Ukraine and humanitarian aid and targets their policy priorities. internal. Top Democrats, including Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the minority leader, privately advocated Thursday for Democrats to oppose the bill, as did several senior administration officials.

Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida, one of 12 Democrats who supported the bill, said in a statement after the vote that she wanted to “send an unequivocal message to the world that we support Israel.”

“The United States has a moral duty and national security urgency to help Israel defend itself,” Frankel said. “Make no mistake, Hamas terrorists and others in the region want to destroy Israel and kill all Jews.”

But in the end, many pro-Israel Democrats opposed the legislation, saying it was unacceptable for Congress to put such conditions on emergency aid for a beloved ally.

“Never in my worst nightmares did I think I would be asked to vote for a bill that cynically conditioned aid to Israel on giving in to one party’s partisan demands,” said Rep. Brad Schneider of Illinois. “Nor did I think the day would come when I would be asked to consider voting against an aid package for Israel, our most important ally in the Middle East and perhaps in the world.”

But he said he could not support the Republican-drafted bill, calling it “terribly flawed, weak and dangerous.”

Most of the money in the Republican measure would go to helping Israel replenish and augment its weapons systems, including $4 billion for the Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems. It also includes $200 million for the protection of US personnel and the evacuation of US citizens. It leaves out humanitarian aid for Gaza, which Biden has requested and which many Democrats consider crucial.

Johnson said he did not attribute the spending cuts “for political purposes” but because House Republicans were “trying to get back to the principle of fiscal responsibility.”

But the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday that the spending cuts laid out in the bill would actually increase the deficit by $12.5 billion over the next decade, because cutting IRS enforcement would reduce revenue collection.

Johnson appeared to have adapted Israel’s legislation to hold together his conference, which is deeply divided over foreign war financing, in the early days of his presidency. His predecessor, former President Kevin McCarthy, was ousted after passing two bills (one to prevent the country’s first debt default and the other to avoid a shutdown) that did not have majority Republican support. of its House of Representatives.

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