More than a dozen House Republicans crossed party lines to deliver a major win to President Joe Biden with the rejection of the $17.6 billion standalone aid package to Israel.
The bill which was championed by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) was introduced to get badly needed assistance to the nation’s vital Middle East ally which is at war with those who want to see it destroyed with the so-called “border bill” that also includes aid to Israel facing an uncertain future.
Anti-Israel Democrats were in their usual lockstep but disunity in the Republican caucus led to the 14 defections who dealt a blow to Johnson’s leadership and sent a message that America can’t be counted on to be there for longtime allies at a time of need, at least not under the current dysfunctional political system.
250-180: House rejects the $17.6 billion standalone Israel aid bill. It would have needed a two-thirds majority to pass.
14 Republicans and 166 Democrats voted No. pic.twitter.com/ghr35Zr7Io
— The Recount (@therecount) February 7, 2024
The final vote was 250-180, far short of the two-thirds majority it needed to pass after it was fast-tracked under the suspension of the House rules, setting the bar for passage higher than a simple majority.
A disappointed Johnson blamed the bill’s defeat on Biden and scheming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who are determined to get their $60 million to Ukraine, even if it means holding Israel hostage.
My statement on Israel Aid Package: pic.twitter.com/YPBxeGlbsO
— Speaker Mike Johnson (@SpeakerJohnson) February 7, 2024
“The decision by President Biden and Leader Schumer to torpedo this bill to aid the Israeli people in their fight against Hamas is a disappointing rebuke to our closest ally in the Middle East at their time of great need,” the speaker said in a statement.
“After nearly four months of waiting for the Senate to act, House Republicans, working in good faith, placed a clean, standalone bill on the floor – a major concession we were willing to make given the gravity of the situation, to address Democrats’ stated concerns with the prior aid package,” the statement read.
“Democrats have been unable to present any substantive policy objection in the current legislation. It is clear they are now committed to using Israel aid as leverage to force through other priorities that do not enjoy the same degree of consensus. Leveraging Israel aid as it fights for survival is wrong. The White House and Congressional Democrats should be ashamed,” he concluded.
Johnson did not mention the Republican renegades in his statement.
The GOP lawmakers justified their opposition as based on principle despite their resistance being a big victory for Biden, Schumer and virulently anti-Israel Democrats.
“Well, it’s unpaid for and our borders are wide open. I’m not going – can’t go to my constituents [and] say here’s $17 billion, even for someone who I love like Israel and a good friend, somebody I fully support, I can’t do that,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) told Fox News Digital.
“It is a nakedly obvious and cynical attempt by MAGA extremists to undermine the possibility of a comprehensive, bipartisan funding package that addresses America’s national security challenges in the Middle East, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific region and throughout the world,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and his top two lieutenants wrote in a Tuesday letter to the Democrat caucus.
The vote came after four GOP lawmakers joined their Democrat friends to defeat the impeachment of DHS boss Alejandro Mayorkas, sinking the effort to hold him accountable for the illegal alien crisis in a chamber where the majority party only has a razor-thin margin thanks to its own lack of foresight when they expelled George Santos.
The results mean that President Joe Biden won’t have to follow through on the administration’s vow that he would veto it.
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