Senate Dems Block Standalone Israel Aid Bill

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Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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Senate Democrats blocked a standalone Israel bill Monday evening introduced by two GOP senators that would have provided the country with additional aid as tensions in the Middle East continue, lawmakers confirmed.

Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall pushed for lawmakers to vote on the standalone bill, leaving out both Ukraine and Taiwan. Following an attack by Iran over the weekend against Israel, which launched 300 missiles and drones, Blackburn immediately called on President Biden to “move quickly and launch aggressive retaliatory strikes on Iran.”

While the U.S., along with other allies of Israel, helped to take out 99% of the strike, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby stated Sunday during an interview that America is not seeking escalation in the matter and noted that what Israel planned to do in response is “up to them.” However, some Republicans still rallied behind efforts to continue the support for Israel.

To persuade lawmakers, Marshall took to the Senate floor to warn about the “attack” Israel faces, emphasizing that he already has called for a vote to support Israel “four times.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Congressional Republicans To Introduce Bill Repealing Biden’s Massive Expansion Of Gun Background Checks)

“A friend in need is a friend indeed. So today, we’re here once again offering an olive branch to pass the bipartisan House passed Israel aid bill that can be signed by the President tonight. The House has passed it, we could pass this, the President can sign it tonight and get that aid to Israel. It’s time to show where America stands. Is it with Iran and Hamas? Or is it with Israel? It has to be one or the other,” Marshall stated.

“You can’t choose both. As for me and my family and my colleagues, we choose Israel. Time and time again, I see members, even the Democratic majority leader this week and say he stands with Israel. My message today to my colleagues is that actions speak louder than words,” Marshall continued. “We’re tired of hearing the pro Israeli lip service while simultaneously blocking every effort to help Israel in its time of need. History will not forget this. Let’s do the right thing.”

Prior to the vote, the White House announced their opposition during a press conference against the bill as it left aid to Ukraine behind. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that the lone Israel bill would “actually not help Israel and Ukraine” and instead “delay” the needed aid, advocating for the supplemental bill that combined Israel funds with Ukraine and Taiwan as a substitute.

The $95.3 billion supplemental bill was proposed in February after dropping key aspects from an original bi-partisan supplemental bill totaling over an estimated $100 billion. Republican lawmakers immediately rejected the bill as pushback over border security measures and tied foreign aid became a conflict forcing the Senate to drop border protection portions and focus on foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

“Democrats say they support Israel, but their actions since October 7 to repeatedly block urgent standalone aid have told a different story. It’s deeply disappointing that in light of Iran’s historic attack this weekend, our Democratic colleagues could not put politics aside and join us in support of our Jewish friends,” Blackburn stated in response to the standalone bill rejection.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson is also expected to bring Israel aid to a vote this week, however, it is unknown when it could be scheduled for.