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Israel aid bill sinks in House with 166 Democrats, 14 Republicans against

A package aimed at giving $17.6 billion to Israel failed to pass the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

It had been facing a veto threat from the White House, which is pushing for Congress to consider Israel aid as part of a larger $118 billion supplemental security package, along with pushback from GOP hard-liners who wanted the price tag offset by spending cuts elsewhere.

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., unveiled the legislation over the weekend while blasting the Senate and White House for excluding the House from talks over a supplemental security funding and border policy bill.

The House GOP bill was fast-tracked for a vote on Tuesday under suspension of House rules — meaning it would bypass a procedural hurdle known as a rule vote in exchange for raising the threshold for passage to two-thirds of the chamber rather than a simple majority.

It ultimately failed to reach enough support, despite 250 lawmakers voting for it and 180 against. Forty-six Democrats voted in favor of the bill while 166 voted against. On the Republican side, 14 lawmakers voted down the Israel aid and 204 voted for it.

Rep. Michelle Steel, R-Calif., criticized lawmakers on both sides who did not support the bill after the failed vote.

‘It is disappointing and unacceptable that so many members failed to stand behind Israel as they defend their citizens from terrorists intent to wipe them off the map,’ Steel told Fox News Digital. ‘We must have absolute moral clarity and resolve. … History will remember those who choose to stay silent.’

Leaders of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus came out against the bill on Sunday over its lack of offsets.

One of Johnson’s first acts as speaker was putting a $14.3 billion Israel aid bill on the House floor, but the funding would have been offset by money Biden allocated to the IRS. The move was dismissed as a ‘poison pill’ and a nonstarter by the Democratic-held Senate.

‘Well, it’s unpaid for and our borders are wide open. I’m not going – can’t go to my constituents [and] say here’s $17 billion, even for someone who I love like Israel and a good friend, somebody I fully support, I can’t do that,’ Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, told Fox News Digital.

But Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., a conservative who is not part of the Freedom Caucus, argued that offsets such as the ones that hard-liners are demanding would do next to nothing to tackle the national debt, which he said would be solved by ‘[cutting] interest rates, [growing] the economy, and [reforming] mandatory spending.’

‘Many people pleaded, please have a pay-for, or else they’re going to vote against it,’ Murphy said of a Tuesday morning House GOP meeting. ‘And I get it. I understand it, absolutely. But in this particular instance, it’s just dust … we’re not going to make a dent in our debt.’

‘People aren’t looking at the big picture … you have to understand a much greater geopolitical picture to really comprehend it.’

Meanwhile, the White House and Democrat leaders in the House provided enough cover to their rank-and-file to kill the bill.

The Biden administration panned the bill as a ‘cynical political maneuver’ made in response to the Senate’s bipartisan negotiations on security funding and border policy.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and his fellow Democrat leaders announced Tuesday afternoon that they would vote against the bill: ‘We are prepared to support any serious, bipartisan effort in connection with the special relationship between the United States and Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the standalone legislation introduced by House Republicans over the weekend, at the eleventh hour without notice or consultation, is not being offered in good faith.’

Johnson blasted Democrats for opposing the bill after the vote on Tuesday and accused them of using Israel aid as ‘leverage’ to pass the rest of their supplemental funding request.

‘After nearly four months of waiting for the Senate to act, House Republicans, working in good faith, placed a clean, standalone bill on the floor — a major concession we were willing to make given the gravity of the situation to address Democrats’ stated concerns with the prior aid package,’ the speaker said.

‘Democrats have been unable to present any substantive policy objection in the current legislation. It is clear they are now committed to using Israel aid as leverage to force through other priorities that do not enjoy nearly the same degree of consensus. Leveraging Israel aid as it fights for survival is wrong. The White House and congressional Democrats should be ashamed.’

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