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House Republicans forcing Democrats to take a stand on series of tough votes on Israel

While their desire is a larger more comprehensive aid package, House Democrats risk angering their Jewish constituents with a vote against Israel aid as a "standalone" issue whenever the bill is considered on the House floor.

Published: November 1, 2023 11:00pm

House Republicans are forcing Democrats to take a series of tough votes related to Israel, which declared war on Hamas after the terror attack in early October. 

House Speaker Mike Johnson has separated $14.3 billion in foreign aid for Israel from the Biden administration's proposed $105 billion foreign assistance package with Ukraine funding and put it into a standalone bill. As a result, House Democrats may be stained by a voting record that might alienate Jewish or pro-Israel constituencies. 

The White House and Democratic leaders had been advocating for $61 billion of Ukraine funding as well as $6 billion in humanitarian assistance for Palestinian refugees to be included in a combined bundle along with the funding for Israel.

While their desire is for a more comprehensive aid package, House Democrats risk angering their Jewish constituents with a vote against the Israel funding when the bill is considered on the House floor. The Pew Research Center reports that "seven-in-ten Jewish adults identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, and half describe their political views as liberal."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim lobbying, education and advocacy group, announced on Wednesday that it formally opposes the $14.3 billion in aid for Israel, arguing that it would be "used to commit additional war crimes against Palestinian civilians in Gaza and maintain the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian territory." The group is urging House members to vote against it.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., introduced a resolution last week to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., for her controversial statements about Israel. Tlaib has been vocal with her support for a ceasefire and her opposition to Israel's military response to the Hamas attack. 

Greene's resolution alleged that Tlaib "led an insurrection" at the U.S. Capitol Complex on Oct. 18 which resulted in arrests, according to The Detroit News. Tlaib delivered a speech at a separate protest calling for a ceasefire but her office reportedly said she was not involved in the larger sit-in where participants were arrested by Capitol Police.

The GOP-led House ultimately killed the censure resolution on Wednesday evening when 23 Republicans and all Democrats voted to table it. Republicans like Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said the insurrection charge was unproven. Democrats subsequently abandoned their plans to move forward with voting on a censure resolution against Greene.

Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., are planning to introduce a bill to stop U.S. government funding to the United Nations over its refusal to condemn Hamas.

"The U.N. is more on the lines of the Joe Biden administration and a one world government," Tuberville said on the "John Solomon Reports" podcast. "They can't pass anything for human rights. They got some people on these human rights committees that get an opportunity to vote that have no human rights ... So the U.N. is out of date."

Since the Democrats control the Senate calendar, it is unclear if the legislation will get a vote on the floor. The bill would be more likely to move forward if it winds up getting any Democratic senators as co-sponsors.

Given the Republican House majority, a House version of the Senate bill could move to a floor vote, which would force Democrats to decide whether to reject the U.N.'s refusal to condemn Hamas.

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