U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz

U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.), talks with reporters outside the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on November 3, 2023.

(Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images)

'Shameful': 16 Dems Help GOP Pass Israel Security Assistance Support Act

Even if the bill passes the Senate, President Joe Biden has threatened to veto it.

Despite U.S. President Joe Biden's threat to veto the Israel Security Assistance Support Act, 16 Democrats in the House of Representatives on Thursday voted alongside 208 Republicans to pass the bill, which will now head to the Senate.

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Chair Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) introduced H.R. 8369, which his office claimed "curbs President Biden's misguided efforts to withhold critical security resources appropriated in U.S. law by compelling the delivery of defense weapons to Israel as they fight to protect themselves against radical terrorists."

The House vote was 224-187, with only three GOP members opposing the legislation—Reps. Warren Davidson (Ohio), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), and Thomas Massie (Ky.)—and six Republicans and 13 Democrats not voting.

The Democrats who supported the bill are Reps. Matt Cartwright (Pa.), Angie Craig (Minn.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Don Davis (N.C.), Lois Frankel (Fla.), Jared Golden (Maine), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.), Greg Landsman (Ohio), Jared Moskowitz (Fla.), Frank Pallone (N.J.), Mary Sattler Peltola (Alaska), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (Wash.), David Scott (Ga.), Darren Soto (Fla.), Thomas Suozzi (N.Y.), and Ritchie Torres (N.Y.).

"These are the fringe extremists of the Democratic Party."

"These 16 House Democrats just voted with Republicans to ignore U.S. human rights law and fast-track weapons to Israel," the Institute for Middle East Understanding Policy Project said on social media, listing the lawmakers. "Shameful."

Noting that the bill would cut off funds from the National Security Council as well as the Defense and State departments until withheld weapons were sent to Israel, Justice Democrats declared, "These are the fringe extremists of the Democratic Party."

While generally supporting Israel's seven-month assault of the Gaza Strip—as critics worldwide decry it as genocide—Biden has recently halted the delivery of some weapons and threatened to withhold more from the Middle East ally, which has now killed over 35,272 Palestinians in the Hamas-governed enclave and wounded another 79,205, according to local officials.

The White House said in a statement earlier this week that the Biden administration "strongly opposes H.R. 8369," which "would undermine the president's ability to execute an effective foreign policy" and "could raise serious concerns about infringement on the president's authorities under Article II of the Constitution."

"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. Our commitment to Israel is ironclad," the White House asserted. "The administration will continue to use all funds appropriated for Israel consistent with legal requirements, including in the recent supplemental, rendering this bill unnecessary and unwise."

"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," the White House warned.

The president has faced mounting pressure—including from some Democrats in Congress—to limit or fully cut off U.S. weapons to Israel, as rights groups have documented Israeli forces' use of American arms to commit alleged war crimes.

Despite such evidence, the Biden administration concluded in a report to Congress last week that Israeli government assurances about U.S. weapons use are "credible and reliable so as to allow the provision of defense articles" to continue.

Politicopointed out Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) signaled the chamber may not even take up the measure, saying that "the president has already said he'd veto it, so it's not going anywhere," while House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) pledged that "we will sustain the president's veto, as we have done consistently throughout the 118th Congress."

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