- Senate Democrats on Tuesday prevented passage of a House-passed bill that would send aid to Israel and paid for by Internal Revenue Service cuts.
- Since President Joe Biden called for aid to Israel after terrorist attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7, Congress has been divided on whether the aid should be passed alone or joined with other policy priorities, such as aid to Ukraine and border security.
- “Israel is being held hostage for Ukraine and anyone who’s been telling you the opposite isn’t telling you the truth,” said Republican Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio at a press conference attended by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked an attempt by Republican Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas to pass a House bill that would send military aid to Israel funded by cuts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2024 would allocate $14.3 billion of funds to the Department of Defense to send military aid to Israel for its response to Hamas after terrorist attacks on Oct. 7, as well as to the Department of State to help evacuate U.S. citizens from the region. After the House passed the bill on Nov. 2 by a bipartisan vote of 226 yeas to 196 nays, Marshall attempted to have the Senate pass the bill immediately but was denied unanimous consent to do so by Senate Democrats, who have opposed the bill.
“I don’t hear anyone saying, from either side of the aisle, ‘Don’t fund Israel.’ So why don’t we fund Israel today?” Marshall asked, rhetorically, on the Senate floor as he moved that the bill be passed by unanimous consent, which would waive the normal rules to which the bill is subject, including a filibuster. “Time is of the essence. The House has passed a standalone bill to fund Israel. The Senate should do the same.”
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The objection to Marshall’s motion was made by Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray.
“We cannot send the message to our allies or to the world that America only stands by some of its allies. ..We also cannot send our adversaries the message that they can simply wait us out, allow us to become distracted, allow our resolve to waiver and that the United States will eventually fail to respond to all of the pressing challenges that we face,” Murray said before objecting, which prevented the bill’s passage.
Murray refers to a supplemental funding request made by President Joe Biden to Congress on Oct. 19, worth over $100 billion, which apart from Israeli aid included funding for Ukraine in its war against Russia and for security and along the U.S. border with Mexico. That plan was quickly dismissed by House Republicans, many of whom oppose further aid to Ukraine without greater oversight and who demanded that both issues be considered separately.
In a press conference after the motion failed, Marshall and other Senators lamented the lack of support he received from Democrats, suggesting that they were blocking aid to Israel for partisan purposes.
“The very simple fact is the House has passed an Israeli aid package. The Senate would pass an Israeli aid package and it would go to the president’s desk for signature tonight unless the Democrats stopped it. So, we should be asking ourselves: why are the Democrats holding Israel hostage? The answer is because they know they can’t defend the president’s disastrous Ukraine policy on its own terms,” said Republican Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio. “Israel is being held hostage for Ukraine and anyone who’s been telling you the opposite isn’t telling you the truth.”
“The demands on our time on the floor are not so vast that we can’t, at least, separate out Israel from Ukraine,” said Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, adding that “[l]umping together funding for Israel and Ukraine undermines our ability to make these nuanced, informed decisions on their own merit.” The House-passed bill has been strongly opposed by Senate Democrats, while President Joe Biden has vowed to veto it.
“If you don’t need to use Israel as leverage to get what you want, that your priority is Ukraine funding, then bring Ukraine funding [alone to the floor]…let’s vote on it and let the country move on,” Marshall challenged Democrats, a sentiment that was echoed by Vance, Lee and Blackburn as well as Sens. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Eric Schmitt of Missouri, who attended.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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