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US House rejects standalone Israel aid bill

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-02-07 14:20

US House Speaker Mike Johnson. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - The US House rejected an aid package for Israel on Tuesday, thwarting the effort of the chamber's top Republican to pass a standalone bill tailored for the Middle East ally and tank Democrats' bid for broader national security funding.

With a tally of 250-180, the $17.6-billion Israel funding legislation failed to garner a two-thirds majority support, which was the threshold for passage.

The "no" votes were cast by lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle, among whom 166 are Democrats and 14 are Republicans.

The result was a blow to House Speaker Mike Johnson, whose gambit to pass the measure was torpedoed not only by Democrats, who overwhelmingly stood in solidarity with their fellow party members in the Senate favoring a comprehensive package that includes aid for Ukraine, but also by conservative GOP members who were disappointed by Johnson's inability to offset the Israel aid money with budget cuts elsewhere.

The House's Israel-only measure was criticized by Democrats as a means of gamesmanship used by Johnson and his supporters alike to oppose a $118-billion Senate bill bundling together an overhaul of US immigration policy, new investment in border security funding, as well as billions of dollars in aid for Ukraine, Israel and other foreign allies.

Johnson has said the Senate bill would be dead on arrival in the House. In response, US President Joe Biden on Monday threatened to veto the Israel aid bill if it were to land on his desk.

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