DECLARING SUPPORT OF ISRAEL
Voting 412 for and nine against, the House on July 18, 2023, adopted a measure (H Con Res 57) restating U.S. support of Israel and asserting it “is not a racist or apartheid state.” The vote occurred on the eve of Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address to Congress and three days after Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., stoked furor on Capitol Hill by calling Israel “a racist state” in its treatment of Palestinians. She later praised “the idea of Israel” while narrowing her criticism to actions by “the extreme right-wing government” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Floor Debate, Pro & Con:
Supporter Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said: “The United States will always support Israel’s right to self-defense. We see Israeli citizens being murdered in senseless terrorist attacks….Israel is responsible for protecting the well-being of its citizens. Protecting one’s citizens from terrorist attacks is not racism. It is national security.”
Opponent Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., said the racism charge “is not something that is made up. The United Nations Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Israel’s own largest human rights organization…all agree that Israel is an apartheid state. To assert otherwise in the face of this body of evidence is an attempt to deny the reality and to normalize violence of apartheid.”
A yes vote was to adopt the nonbinding resolution.
$886 BILLION FOR MILITARY IN FISCAL 2024
Voting 219 for and 210 against, the House on July 14, 2023, authorized an $886.3 billion military budget (HR 2670) for fiscal 2024 that funds a 5.2 percent pay raise for uniformed personnel while approving more than $60 billion for active-duty and retiree health care and $300 million in military aid to Ukraine. The bill establishes the office of inspector general to monitor U.S. expenditures in Ukraine and eliminates the Pentagon’s position of chief diversity officer. The bill drew nearly unanimous Democratic opposition after the Republican caucus added hard-right social-policy measures (see amendments below) to traditional military operations, which concern areas such as supervising the nuclear stockpile, maintaining military bases, boosting recruitment efforts, paying and caring for service personnel and their families and funding air, land and sea weaponry.
Floor Debate, Pro & Con:
Supporter John Rose, R-Tenn., said the bill “gives our military the tools they need to counter the Chinese Communist Party’s aggression [and] increases oversight of the Biden administration after their disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan….[and would] return our military’s focus back on readiness and the defense of our nation, not wokeness and progressive posturing.”
Opponent Seth Moulton, D-Mass., said: “Targeting diversity, equity, inclusion, reproductive women’s rights and cutting off our assistance to the EU and Ukraine are [policies] I cannot support….Good luck recruiting women if they can’t get health care…. Good luck recruiting minorities if they think they won’t be respected in the service.”
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it was likely to fail.
ENDING MILITARY SUPPORT OF UKRAINE
Voting 89 for and 341 against, the House on July 13, 2023, defeated an amendment that sought to strip HR 2670 (above) of its $300 million in military aid to Ukraine. The sum would be in addition to about $75 billion America has provided in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since it was invaded by Russia in February 2022.
Floor Debate, Pro & Con:
Sponsor Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said: “No money funding…the Ukraine war belongs in our defense [budget] because this is for our nation, not for another nation, not for Ukraine….Sending money to fund a war in a foreign country against a nuclear armed nation does not protect our national security, it endangers our national security.”
Opponent Adam Smith, D-Wash., said: “If Putin succeeds in Ukraine, he won’t stop at Ukraine…. We are supporting, along with 53 other countries, an effort to protect a sovereign democracy against a dictatorship. Those are core U.S. interests. The Ukrainians are doing the fighting. All they’re asking for is our support.”
A yes vote opposed U.S. military aid to Ukraine.
CLUSTER MUNITIONS FOR UKRAINE
Voting 147 for and 276 against, the House on July 13, 2023, defeated an amendment to HR 2670 (above) to negate President Biden’s recent decision to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions, which rain large quantities of small bombs onto battlefields. More than 120 nations – but not the United States, Russia or Ukraine – have signed an international convention that prohibits the production, use or transfer of cluster munitions because their remnants often kill and maim civilians long after the fighting stops.
Floor Debate, Pro & Con:
Sponsor Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said: “Cluster bombs are inhumane weapons that cause lasting harm to civilians….Ukraine is not a NATO member nation. What is next [for them]? Chemical or nuclear weapons?”
Opponent Mike Quigley, D-Ill., said the goal of supplying Ukraine with cluster munitions “is to end this quickly. A protracted war will cost more lives and allow Putin to commit more war crimes.”
A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.
APPROVING $858 BILLION MILITARY BUDGET
Voting 350 for and 80 against, the House on Dec. 8, 2022, passed a bill (HR 7776) that would authorize an $858 billion Department of Defense budget for fiscal 2023 that includes a 4.5% pay raise for uniformed personnel. In addition to funding standard military accounts such as those for weapons, personnel, logistics and the operation of global and domestic bases, the bill would end a mandate that troops be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. The bill would provide $800 million in aid to Ukraine while imposing stricter auditing of money spent there; authorize $10 billion over five years in military aid to Taiwan; block U.S. military usage of Chinese semiconductor products and services; and take steps to strengthen the NATO alliance. In addition, the bill would transfer authority to prosecute sexual assaults on service personnel from the military chain of command to independent prosecutors in the U.S. criminal justice system.
Floor Debate, Pro & Con:
Supporter Mike Rogers, R-Ala., said the bill “is laser-focused on preparing our military to counter threats from China and our other adversaries. It makes critical investments in new systems capable of surviving in contested environments. It includes provisions that will further harden our supply chain and industrial base against filtration from China; and it reaffirms our support to allies in the region, especially Taiwan. Finally, it strengthens our European alliance as these democracies face grave threats from that crackpot in the Kremlin.”
Another supporter, Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said the bill “moves us forward in reforming the military justice system. We took sexual assault out of the chain of command last year in the [military budget]. This year, we take sexual harassment out of the chain and we require trained investigators who will investigate cases outside the brigade. Both are critical for the safety of military personnel because sexual harassment begets sexual assault.”
No member spoke against the bill.
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.
SENDING MILITARY BUDGET TO PRESIDENT BIDEN
Voting 83 for and 11 against, the Senate on Dec. 15, 2022, gave final congressional approval to a bill (HR 7776) that would authorize an $858 billion Department of Defense budget for fiscal 2023, which includes a 4.5% pay raise for uniformed personnel. In addition to funding standard military accounts such as those for weapons, personnel, logistics and the operation of global and domestic bases, the bill would end a mandate that troops be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. The bill would provide $800 million in aid to Ukraine while imposing stricter auditing of money spent there; authorize $10 billion over five years in military aid to Taiwan; block U.S. military usage of Chinese semiconductor products and services; and take steps to strengthen the NATO alliance. In addition, the bill would transfer authority to prosecute sexual assaults from the military chain of command to independent prosecutors in the U.S. criminal justice system.
Floor Debate, Pro & Con:
Jack Reed, D-R.I., said China “poses a serious potential threat to our national security as the only country in the world capable of mounting a sustained challenge to our interests. In addition, Russia has demonstrated its willingness to inflict violence and undermine the global order while states like Iran and North Korea continue to push the boundaries of military brinkmanship. Threats like terrorism, climate change and pandemics remain persistent….The passage of the FY23 NDAA will be a critical step toward meeting these complex challenges.”
No senator spoke against the bill.
A yes vote was to send the bill to President Biden for his signature.
APPROVING $40 BILLION AID TO UKRAINE
Voting 368 for and 57 against, the House on May 10, 2022, approved a $40 billion aid package (HR 7691) for Ukraine that provided, in part, $13.9 billion in economic and humanitarian assistance administered by the U.S. Department of State; $9.1 billion to replenish U.S. military stocks depleted by previous donations to Ukraine; $6 billion for weapons, equipment and military training; $4.3 billion for Agency for International Development outlays; $3.9 billion for the U.S. European Command; $900 million in refugee support for countries including Poland; and $2 million for nuclear security in Ukraine.
The bill was supported by all 219 Democrats who voted and 149 of the 206 Republicans who voted. The funding, which was added to the deficit, was on top of $13.6 billion Congress approved for Ukraine soon after it was invaded by Russia on Feb. 24, 2022.
Floor Debate, Pro & Con
Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said to Republican opponents of the bill: “Is this Abraham Lincoln’s party we are hearing today? Or is it a cult of Donald Trump? We have to decide which side America is going to be on….It is incumbent upon us as the leader of the democratic world, if that is still what we want to be, to support democracies under attack by authoritarian regimes.”
Chip Roy, R-Texas, said to Democrats: “We got $40 billion that is unpaid for and you want to sit here and lecture this body about what we are going to do or not do about standing alongside Ukraine? Why don’t we talk about the American people who are hurting; the wide-open borders; the inflation that is killing people; the jobs that people can’t get because of the cost of goods and services in this country.”
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it was passed and sent to President Biden, who signed it into law (PL 117-128) on June 25, 2022. Senate vote here.
EXPRESSING SOLIDARITY WITH THE CUBAN PEOPLE
Voting 382 for and 40 against, the House on Nov. 3, 2021, adopted a resolution (H Res 760) expressing U.S. solidarity with the people of Cuba in their defiance of the Communist regime that has ruled the island nation since 1959. The non-binding resolution was focused on street demonstrations on July 11, 2021, that reportedly were the largest mass protests in Cuba in a quarter century, with many of those arrested that day still imprisoned. The resolution deplored “Cuba’s continued repression of its people, its worsening economic situation, and shortages of food and medicine,” among other grievances. And it urged steps the Biden administration to expand Internet access there and speed the flow of “remittances, medical supplies and other forms of support from the United States to directly benefit the Cuban people in ways that alleviate humanitarian suffering without providing [U.S.] dollars to the Cuban military.”
The resolution was supported by all 207 Republicans who voted and 175 of the 215 Democrats who voted. No opponents spoke in opposition.
Supporter Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., said: “Unfortunately, there has been very little solidarity from the Biden administration. The administration has yet to even use technology available to the United States government and even the private sector to provide Internet so the Cuban people can communicate,” and has “failed to even support adequate funding for broadcasting into Cuba.”
Another supporter, Majority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said: “I hope that the valid concerns and differences members have on both sides of the aisle when it comes to Cuba will not preclude us from agreeing that we ought to stand in solidarity with those who are seeking the same rights that we enjoy in this extraordinary country in which we live.“
A yes vote was to adopt the resolution, which did not require Senate action.