US lawmakers reject $17.6 billion standalone ‘Israel’ aid bill


  • The US Capitol is photographed on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

US lawmakers voted Tuesday to reject a standalone “Israel” aid bill denounced by critics as a “cynical” bid to thwart a cross-party border security and foreign assistance package that would include cash for Ukraine.

Republicans in the House of Representatives scheduled the vote after the Democratic-led Senate released a bipartisan bill Sunday linking billions of dollars for the Israeli occupation entity and Ukraine with some of the strictest immigration curbs in decades.

But support for that $118 billion package has dwindled, with Donald Trump — who is running for a second White House term — pressuring Republicans to avoid handing President Joe Biden a legislative victory ahead of November’s election.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson said after the border and foreign aid bill was unveiled that it would be “dead on arrival” if it reached the lower chamber of Congress.

The standalone “Israel” bill would have provided “Tel Aviv” with $17.6 billion in military aid. But 167 Democrats voted no after Biden had threatened to use his veto, angered that the legislation appeared aimed at undermining the larger package, unveiled after months of negotiations with a bipartisan group of senators. The standalone bill was also opposed by 13 Republicans.

Biden’s Office of Management and Budget had said the Republican “ploy” would undermine efforts to secure the US border, support Ukraine against Russia, and allow humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

House Democratic leaders called the bill a “nakedly obvious and cynical attempt” to undermine the larger package, which ties the “Israel” cash to $60 billion aid for Ukraine and $20 billion for US border security but is deadlocked in Congress.

Read more: Trump: border bill must be separate from foreign war aid allocation



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