House passes pro-Israel resolution with 412 votes in favor as Senate advances Lew nomination
One Republican and nine Democrats voted against the pro-Israel resolution, while six Democrats voted present
After nearly three weeks of paralysis, the House approved — by a 412-10 vote, with six lawmakers voting present — a resolution in support of Israel and condemning Hamas as its first order of business after electing Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) as the new House speaker.
Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Cori Bush (D-MO), Al Green (D-TX), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Andre Carson (D-IN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Summer Lee (D-PA), Delia Ramirez (D-IL) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) voted against the bill. Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Greg Casar (D-TX), Chuy Garcia (D-TX) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) voted present.
With the exception of Pressley, all of the present votes came from lawmakers who had co-sponsored the resolution in the immediate aftermath of the attack, but have since called for a cease-fire. With the exception of Green, the lawmakers opposing the bill have frequently criticized Israel and are reliable “no” votes on pro-Israel legislation.
The Democratic votes against the bill elicited strong criticism from pro-Israel colleagues in the party.
Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) told Jewish Insider she was “appalled by the Democratic members who opposed this resolution and failed to condemn Hamas,” calling their votes “shameful.” Rosen noted that a similar resolution had passed unanimously in the Senate.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said, “someone who votes against this I would think doesn’t have a soul.” Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) said that members who were unwilling to vote for the bill “are not worthy of serving in this body” and should “resign in disgrace.”
Meanwhile, in the Senate, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced by a nearly party-line vote former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s nomination to be the U.S. ambassador to Israel. Sen. Rand Paul (R-TX), a sometimes-unpredictable voice on foreign policy who previously blocked Iron Dome aid for months, was the only Republican to vote in favor of Lew.
“After meeting personally with Jack Lew, I found him to be a thoughtful individual who will strive to do his best to represent the United States in Israel,” Paul told JI in a statement. “I also believe it to be important to have an ambassador during the current crisis in Israel.”
It’s not clear when Lew’s nomination might come to the Senate floor; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has yet to file cloture — the procedure to force a vote on the floor.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ben Cardin (D-MD) argued after the committee meeting that “cloture should not be necessary” and that he’s hopeful the nomination will be approved as soon as next week. Cardin said he was “disappointed” but not surprised that Paul was the only Republican to vote for Lew.
Johnson, the new speaker, said in his acceptance speech yesterday that “we are going to show not only Israel, but the entire world that the barbarism of Hamas we have seen play out on our television screens is wretched and wrong. And we are going to stand for the good in that conflict.”
It’s unclear when the newly reopened House will bring up and be able to pass a requested supplemental funding package for Israel, Ukraine and other issues. Johnson did not set a specific target date for considering the package in a planning memo circulated to his Republican colleagues, which prompted one Democrat, Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), to accuse Johnson of planning to leave “Israel, Ukraine and our democratic allies high and dry.”
Johnson did not respond to a request for comment. A fellow Republican, Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) told JI that Johnson had not discussed timing for the supplemental package in private Republican conference meetings. The Senate is expected to move first, before the House, to pass a version of the bill.
In floor speeches prior to the passage of the Israel resolution yesterday, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle professed staunch support for Israel and its efforts to destroy Hamas, as well as highlighted Hamas’ atrocities. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) displayed photos of blood-soaked Israeli homes in the aftermath of Hamas’ attack.
McCaul said that on a previous trip to Israel, he had personally visited a kibbutz and a daycare center where some of the Hamas killings had taken place, calling the Hamas terrorists “monsters” and describing in detail numerous atrocities they had committed. Hamas “must be confronted without equivocation,” he said.
Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Greg Meeks (D-NY), denounced recent comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan describing Hamas as a “not a terrorist organization” but rather “a liberation group… waging a battle to protect its lands and people.”
Meeks called Erdogan “dead wrong” and said his comment was “rank with hypocrisy” and “extraordinarily dangerous,” particularly coming from a NATO ally. Meeks also said that Hamas holds ultimate responsibility for the deaths of Palestinian civilians killed during Israel’s response to its attacks.
It’s also unclear whether supplemental Ukraine aid will be feasible under Johnson, who has voted repeatedly against further aid to the U.S. ally. He told reporters last night that “we all do” support additional Ukraine aid but “we want accountability and we want objectives that are clear from the White House.”
Johnson, who previously referred to Israel as the U.S.’s “most important ally,” has visited Israel twice, most recently in 2020 on a trip sponsored by the 12Tribe Films Foundation and affiliated with the Yes! Israel Foundation. The trip included visits to the Kohelet Policy Forum — the think tank that helped develop the Israeli judicial reform plan — and the Temple Mount.
Former Knesset Member Yehuda Glick — an activist for Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount — led a tour of the Temple Mount and was arrested shortly after. Johnson called it “jarring” and “very sad” that Jews and Christians are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount in an interview during that trip, and said he hopes that situation will change in the future.
In that interview, Johnson praised former President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and condemned the “radical left element” that has “indoctrinated” students on college campuses against Israel — ”they just simply don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said. He also said it was important for other members of Congress to see “the Judea and Samaria portions of the country.”
Also yesterday, Tlaib again reiterated comments questioning the U.S. assessment of the Gaza hospital bombing, an hour after telling a reporter that she had just been briefed on the situation. Asked if she would take down her initial accusations, Tlaib said “I’m not going to get policed.”