House passes bill condemning Biden over arms freeze to Israel

WASHINGTON — The Republican-led House passed a bill Thursday that would limit the president’s ability to block arms transfers to Israel in a vote that drew attention from a divided Democratic party over the war in Gaza.

The bill passed the House 224-187. Sixteen Democrats voted for it, including Thomas Suozzi of New York, Jared Moskowitz of Florida, and Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey. Only three Republicans were opposed.

The vote was largely symbolic — the bill was not expected to be taken up on the other side of the Capitol. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called DNY dead on arrival, saying the measure was “going nowhere.”

The passage of the Israel Security Assistance Support Act, which would have prevented federal funds from being used to stop defense services or weapons for Israel, comes shortly after the White House halted arms shipments to US allies.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., praised the bill’s passage while criticizing the Biden administration’s withholding of some weapons from Israel, including 2,000-pound bombs and 500-pound bombs.

“The Biden administration’s decision to freeze weapons is disastrous and directly contrary to the will of Congress,” Johnson said in a statement.

He said passing the legislation sends a clear message of solidarity and support to Israel and called for “urgent delivery of defensive weapons to our most important ally in the Middle East.”

President Joe Biden said in a statement Interview with CNN last week The U.S. will not supply Israel with certain weapons if its military occupies Gaza’s southern city of Rafah. He said in the interview that Israel used 2,000 pound bombs to kill Palestinian civilians.

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The White House reiterated its opposition to the House GOP bill on Tuesday Report That would “undermine the president’s ability to execute effective foreign policy.” The statement also said Biden would veto it if it reached his desk.

After the vote, National Security Council spokesman Adrian Watson called the bill a “deliberate distortion” of Biden’s policy, saying the legislation was “intended to score political points, not help Israel.”

“President Biden will take a back seat to anyone in his support for Israel and will ensure Israel has everything it needs to defeat Hamas,” Watson said in a statement. “President Biden is also committed to the safety of innocent civilians.”

Outside the Capitol, about 20 pro-Palestinian congressional staffers demonstrated before the House vote, calling on Biden and Congress to “immediately end US support for Israel’s attack on the civilian population of Gaza,” said Samantha Elkanayan, a staffer for Rep. Ro Khanna told NBC News.

Protests by congressional staffers are relatively rare, and Elkanayan noted that the protests were on his personal time, not as part of his job.

Rep. Mike Lawler, RN.Y., called for the staff to be fired.

“They have no business taking taxpayer money, what they do when they come to protest during work hours, and waste that taxpayer money, obviously, no one asked them,” he said.

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