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US House passes $26bn Israel aid package, sends to Senate

April 22, 2024 at 10:54 am

Pro-Palestinian activists protest in front of the US Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia on 19 April 2024. [Firdaus Wajidi – Anadolu Agency]

The US House of Representatives on Saturday passed a $26 billion legislative package providing security assistance to Israel, Reuters reported.

The legislation now proceeds to the Democratic-majority Senate, which passed a similar measure more than two months ago. US leaders from Democratic President Joe Biden to top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell had been urging embattled Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring it up for a vote.

The Senate is set to begin considering the House-passed bill tomorrow, with some preliminary votes that afternoon. Final passage was expected sometime next week, which would clear the way for Biden to sign it into law.

The bill provides $60.84 billion to address the conflict in Ukraine, including $23 billion to replenish US weapons, stocks and facilities; $26 billion for Israel, including $9.1 billion for humanitarian needs, and $8.12 billion for the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan.

Watch: Protesters confront US representatives as House passes Israel military aid package

The House’s actions during a rare Saturday session put on display some cracks in what generally is solid support for Israel within Congress. Recent months have seen progressive Democrats express anger with Israel’s government and its conduct of the war on Gaza.

Saturday’s vote, in which the Israel aid was passed 366-58, had 37 Democrats and 21 Republicans in opposition.

Passage of the long-awaited legislation was closely watched by US defence contractors, who could be in line for huge contracts to supply equipment for Israel, Ukraine and other US partners.