The House of Representatives has approved a $14.3 billion military aid package for Israel, largely along party lines. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says Democrats won’t take up the bill after House Republicans excluded funding for Ukraine’s military and proposed slashing IRS funding to pay for weapons to Israel. President Biden has asked Congress for a $106 billion emergency spending package that includes funding for Israel, Taiwan and Ukraine. The request includes an unprecedented provision to entirely waive congressional notification of the future sale of military equipment and weapons to Israel, including stocks of ballistic missiles and artillery shells. This is Vice President Kamala Harris speaking from London Thursday after talks with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Vice President Kamala Harris: “We are not going to create any conditions on the support that we are giving Israel to defend itself.”
The White House continues to rule out calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, a day after Biden said Israel’s military should allow for “humanitarian pauses.” On Thursday, Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin became the first member of the Senate to call for a ceasefire, during an interview on CNN.
Sen. Dick Durbin: “An effort should be made to engage in conversation between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Let’s face it. This has gone on for decades. Whatever the rationale from the beginning, it has now reached an intolerable level.”
Durbin joins 12 other Democratic senators who have called for a short-term “cessation of hostilities” in Gaza.