By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives rejected a Republican-led bill on Tuesday that would provide $17.6 billion to Israel, as Democrats said they wanted a vote instead on a broader measure that would also provide assistance to Ukraine, international humanitarian funding and new money for border security.
The vote was 250 to 180, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage.
Opponents called the Israel legislation a political ploy by Republicans to distract from their opposition to a $118 billion Senate bill combining an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy and new funding for border security with billions of dollars in emergency aid for Ukraine, Israel and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson had said the Senate bill was “dead on arrival” in the chamber even before it was introduced. And Senate Republican leaders said on Tuesday they did not think the measure would receive enough votes to pass.
“This accomplishes nothing and delays aid getting out to our allies and providing humanitarian relief,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, urging opposition to the Israel-only bill. “Our allies are facing existential threats and our friends and foes around the globe are watching, waiting to see how America will respond.”
The Israel-only bill’s supporters insisted it was not a purely political stunt, saying it was important to move quickly to support Israel as it responds to the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Chris Reese and David Gregorio)