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Another blow for the GOP in the House: Republican bill for Israel aid flops

14 Republicans joined 166 Democrats to vote down the $17.6 billion package.

Otro golpe para el GOP en la Cámara: se hundió el proyecto de ley republicano de ayuda a Israel

(Cordon Press)

The Republican Party has had a challenging day in the Lower House. After the impeachment of Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas failed, the Republican Israel aid bill also collapsed due to opposition from the majority of Democrats and 14 GOP representatives.

The package, worth $17.6 billion, needed the approval of two-thirds of the Lower House because it was voted on this Tuesday under a suspension of the House rules.

When rules are suspended, project proponents bypass a procedural bureaucratic hurdle known as a rules vote in exchange for raising the threshold for approval. However, the bill is doomed to failure without united support, as happened today.

In total, the bill had 250 legislators in favor and 180 against. Forty-six Democrats voted in favor of the bill, while 166 voted against it. On the Republican side, 14 lawmakers joined Democrats in voting against aid to Israel, and 204 voted in favor.

The bill itself had already faced a veto threat from the White House, which intends to have Congress consider aid to Israel as part of a larger $118 billion supplemental security package.

A group of hardline Republicans belonging to the Freedom Caucus oppose the project for entirely different reasons than the Democrats: they want the more than $17 billion to be offset by spending cuts in other federal agencies.

Representative Chip Roy (R-TX), one of the leaders of the Freedom Caucus, mentioned before the vote that he would love to help his ally Israel but that he could not go before his constituents and tell them that he voted for an aid package of more than $17 billion while the border remains open without a clear agreement even close to being approved.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, facing the toughest day of his entire term, lamented the failure of the Israel aid bill after revealing details of the legislation over the weekend.

In a statement, Johnson questioned the White House and the Senate majority leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, for torpedoing the project that sought to help Israel in the midst of its war with Hamas.

“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,” Johnson wrote.

“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,” continued the House leader, who now faces a wave of criticism after Republicans lost two important votes on the same day.

“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 nearly the same degree of consensus. Leveraging Israel aid as it fights for survival is wrong. The White House and Congressional Democrats should be ashamed,” Johnson said.

Over the weekend, Johnson himself had fiercely questioned the Senate and the White House for excluding the Lower House from discussions on the security and border policy supplemental funding bill. However, the criticism was in vain, as the bill eventually fell by the wayside, and now the leader of the House says that they will seek to present it again, but without suspending the rules to pass it with a simple majority.