The House GOP ended the chaos unleashed after the removal of Kevin McCarthy as speaker, electing Mike Johnson (R-LA) as his replacement on Wednesday. After three failed candidacies (one did not even reach a vote), the congressman achieved the necessary votes to claim the gavel. After a speech of approximately 20 minutes, in which he recalled the founding values and promised to return to legislative work, the first resolution of his administration was approved: support Israel and condemn Hamas.
The four-page legislation states that the House supports "Israel as it defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas and other terrorists." In turn, it "condemns Hamas' brutal war against Israel" and calls on the jihadist group to "immediately cease these violent attacks and safely release all living hostages and return the bodies of deceased hostages."
🚨BREAKING: HOUSE SPEAKER ELECTED - FIRST BILL IS TO SUPPORT ISRAEL
"The first bill that I'm going to bring to this floor will be in support of our dear friend Israel." pic.twitter.com/RHyxAbVIJ0
— Mario Nawfal (@MarioNawfal) October 25, 2023
A majority of members of Congress overwhelmingly approved the resolution, although six of them abstained and ten voted against it, including nine Democrats and one Republican. Jamaal Bowman (NY), André Carson (IN), Cori Bush (MO), Al Green (TX), Summer Lee (PA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Ilhan. Omar (MN), Delia Ramírez (IL) and Rashida Tlaib (MI) were the Democrats who voted against supporting Israel and condemning Hamas. They were joined by Republican Thomas Massie (R-TN), who justified himself by saying that the resolution encouraged sanctions against a foreign country and promised future military aid, which the Republican opposes.
However, in a post on X, he clarified that he condemned the "brutal attack against Israel and affirmed Israel's right to defend itself."
The new speaker of the House had anticipated that he would rush to advance the resolution during his first speech. "The country demands strong leadership of this body, and we must not waver. Our nation's greatest ally in the Middle East is under attack. The first bill that I'm gonna bring to this floor in just a little while will be in support of our dear friend Israel. And we're overdue in getting that done," he indicated.
"We're going to show not only Israel, but the entire world, that the barbarism of Hamas that we have all seen play out on our television screens and wretched and wrong, and we're gonna stand for the food in that conflict," he added.
The House had not previously approved explicit support for Israel because it was paralyzed by the non-election of the new House speaker, which began on October 3, when Matt Gaetz's no-confidence motion managed to remove Kevin McCarthy.