Economy

16 Dems vote with GOP to rebuke Biden’s pausing Israel weapons shipment

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Several House Democrats defied the White House to support a bill rebuking President Biden for withholding offensive aid from Israel on Thursday.

The Israel Security Assistance Support Act would condemn the president’s posture on Israel’s Gaza invasion while compelling the Biden administration to expeditiously send any weapons shipments already approved by Congress.

It passed in a 224 to 187 vote, with 16 Democrats joining 208 Republicans in advancing the bill. Democrats who supported it include Reps. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y.; Darren Soto, D-Fla.; Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y.; Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Wash.; and Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, among others.

Three Republicans also voted against the bill — Reps. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio; Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.; and Thomas Massie, R-Ky.

‘President Biden’s decision to withhold weapons approved by myself, the chairman and the ranking member and appropriated by Congress, defied congressional intent and is tantamount to an arms embargo,’ House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said during debate for the bill. 

‘Red lines are meant for our enemies. Red lines are not meant for our allies and our friends. But that’s precisely what this administration is doing to Israel.’

The bill would also withhold funding from the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State and the National Security Council if there was any delay in weapons aid.

‘House Democrats have made it clear they’d rather stand in solidarity with terrorists than support our strongest ally in the Middle East,’ House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., the No. 3 House Republican leader, told Fox News Digital.

But opponents of the bill argued that it could set a dangerous precedent for restricting a president’s ability to conduct foreign policy.

It comes after President Biden faced bipartisan backlash from pro-Israel lawmakers for pausing a bomb shipment from Israel over fears it could be used in Rafah, as well as for warning Israel that the U.S. would not send offensive weapons if they were used on population centers in the southern Gaza Strip. However, Thursday’s vote happened days after Biden announced he was moving forward with a $1 billion weapons shipment to Israel, according to reports.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has already said he does not plan to take up the bill, citing the White House’s threat to veto the measure if it hit Biden’s desk.

‘The bill is a misguided reaction to a deliberate distortion of the Administration’s approach to Israel. The President has been clear: we will always ensure Israel has what it needs to defend itself,’ the White House said earlier this week. 

‘Furthermore, this bill, if enacted, could lead to spiraling unintended consequences, prohibiting the United States from adjusting our security assistance posture with respect to Israel in any way, including to address unanticipated emergent needs, even if Israel and the United States agree that military needs have changed and supplies should change accordingly.’

House Democratic leaders were also actively encouraging their caucus to vote against the bill.

Israel has proven to be a politically fraught topic for the Democratic Party, with a growing number of lawmakers voicing concern about Israel’s invasion of Gaza in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack.

It has revealed fractures between more moderate and traditional Democrats’ views on the U.S.-Israel relationship and progressives who are increasingly critical of those close ties.

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