The U.S. House this week rejected a stand-alone bill that would have provided $17.6 billion in assistance to Israel but didn’t include any provision to pay it.
The Tuesday vote required a two-thirds majority to pass because it had been put under “suspension” but Republican House leaders, which allows for a quicker vote — suspending some House procedural rules — but required a higher vote threshold to pass.
The bill received only 250 of the 288 votes it needed to pass.
Johnson’s Israel bill FAILS pic.twitter.com/18kzD8Wc6D
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 6, 2024
According to the House clerk, the vote failed in a bipartisan fashion, with 204 Republican votes in favor and 14 opposed, and 46 Democrats in favor and 166 opposed.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana did not vote.
Other Democrats were unwilling to vote in favor of this bill while the possibility of a larger spending package that would include aid for Ukraine as well.
Some Democratic leaders in the House had said in a letter to legislators that the proposal “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 Speaker Mike Johnson has previously said that the “comprehensive bipartisan funding package” in question was dead on arrival at the House. He wants to see more spending to protect the U.S. southern border.
More conservative members of the House rejected it on the basis of fiscal responsibility, since the bill included no provision to pay for the foreign aid through spending cuts elsewhere.
Predictably, the White House called the bill a “ploy” by Republican lawmakers.
“For months the administration has been working with a bipartisan group of Senators on a national security agreement that secures our border and provides support for the people of Ukraine and Israel,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a Feb. 3 statement, three days before the vote. “Just as legislative text is imminent, the House Republicans come up with their latest cynical political maneuver.
“The security of Israel should be sacred, not a political game. We strongly oppose this ploy which does nothing to secure the border, does nothing to help the people of Ukraine defend themselves against Putin’s aggression, and denies humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians, the majority of them women and children, which the Israelis supported by opening the access route.
“House Republicans should instead work in a bipartisan way, like the administration and Senate are doing, on these pressing national security issues,” she said.
Johnson had predicted that the standalone bill would pass the House by a “wide margin,” Axios reported Sunday.
“We cannot wait any longer. The House is willing to lead, and the reason we have to take care of this Israel situation right now is because the situation has escalated,” Johnson said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
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