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Thursday, July 25, 2024

US House passes bill seeking to undo Biden’s pause on arms transfer to Israel

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 The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass a bill that seeks to undo President Joe Biden’s temporary suspension of arms transfer to Israel.

The bill, called the Israel Security Assistance Support Act, was passed by the lower chamber of the U.S. Congress in a 224-187 vote. It is expected to go nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate as the Democratic leadership vowed even not to take it up in the upper chamber.

House Republicans planned to move ahead with the bill this week in response to Biden’s recent decision to put one shipment of bombs — numbering 3,500 with some of them weighing as much as 2,000 pounds — to Israel on hold, for fear that they would otherwise be dropped during Israel’s anticipated major military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where some 1.4 million civilians are now taking refuge.

The suspension outraged Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who accused the Biden administration of abandoning Israel, the closest U.S. ally in the Middle East.

The administration, for its part, issued a policy statement Tuesday saying that Biden would veto the bill if it were to land on his desk.

“The bill would undermine the President’s ability to execute an effective foreign policy,” the statement said, calling the bill “a misguided reaction to a deliberate distortion of the Administration’s approach to Israel.”

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