- Three Democratic senators voted against a $95.3 billion bill to provide aid to Israel and Ukraine.
- They each spoke of the brutality of Israel’s war in Gaza, saying the United States should not provide more weapons.
- Other Democratic senators who criticized the war still voted in favor of the aid.
Early Tuesday morning, the Senate passed a $95.3 billion bill to provide aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan by a 70-29 margin.
Most of the votes against the bill came from Republicans, some of whom opposed providing $60 billion in aid to Ukraine, while others protested the lack of relief provisions. border security.
But three members of the Senate Democratic Conference joined them in protesting the $14 billion in Israeli aid: Peter Welch of Vermont, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who is participating in caucus with the Democrats.
Although all three support aid to Ukraine, they all said they could not support providing more weapons to Israel amid the devastating war in Gaza that the country launched after the attacks. Hamas terrorists of October 7. Since the start of the war, more than 28,000 Palestinians have been killed.
“As I have said repeatedly, Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas terrorism,” Sanders said on the Senate floor last week. “But he has no right to annihilate an entire people.”
“I have always supported the free, secure and democratic State of Israel. I still do,” Welch said. “The Netanyahu government’s destruction of Gaza will not make Israel safer or freer.”
“I cannot vote to send more bombs and shells to Israel while they use them indiscriminately against Palestinian civilians,” Merkley said.
It’s the latest example of a trend among Democrats who are increasingly comfortable rejecting aid to Israel. According to a recent poll, half of Democrats believe Israel is committing genocide and that the war could have electoral consequences for President Joe Biden as he seeks re-election.
Other Democratic senators who have criticized Israel’s war still voted for the bill, with some citing a recent executive action by Biden reiterating that U.S. military assistance must be used in accordance with international humanitarian law. It requires any country receiving foreign aid, including Israel, to provide written assurances that it respects human rights laws.
“Congress must ensure that this new condition of U.S. aid is respected, and the United States must use its influence to help end this war, bring the hostages home, and begin working to end this war. long-term peace,” said Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. , who voted for the bill.
Still, the aid plan faces an uncertain path to Biden’s desk: It still must pass the House, and President Mike Johnson issued a statement Monday evening saying the bill would not simply pass through the Lower House.
“Absent a single change in border policy from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own way on these important issues,” Johnson said. “America deserves better than the Senate status quo.”
After pushing to include border security provisions in the foreign aid bill, Republicans balked at last week’s bipartisan deal, and leaders of both parties in the Senate opted to move forward without these provisions.