Oct 8, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: House committee heads prepare bipartisan pro-Israel measure

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul and Ranking Member Greg Meeks. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

The chair and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, are preparing a bipartisan resolution affirming U.S. support for Israel and condemning Hamas' attacks on the country, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said in a statement he expects the measure "to be one of the first, if not the first items considered on the floor once we elect a new Speaker."

  • Lawmakers have expressed concerns that the House's inability to conduct business in the absence of a permanent speaker has made them impotent at a watershed foreign policy moment.

Driving the news: The resolution, a draft copy of which was obtained by Axios, affirms the U.S.'s "commitment to Israel's security, including through security assistance" and calls for "full enforcement" of sanctions on Iran.

  • It also condemns "Iran's support for terrorist groups and proxies, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad" and calls on all countries to "unequivocally condemn Hamas' brutal war."
  • The measure is being led by McCaul and Ranking Member Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.) and is being circulated to members of the Foreign Affairs Committee for co-sponsors.

The big picture: At least 700 Israelis and 413 Palestinians have died in the fighting following Hamas' surprise attacks against Israel on Saturday.

  • President Biden told Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu in a call on Sunday that the U.S. plans to send additional military assistance to Israel, Axios' Barak Ravid reported.
  • But while the administration doesn't require congressional authorization for its initial assistance package, Biden officials are concerned that chaos in the House, most notably the lack of a speaker, could hamper approval of more aid.

What they're saying: "Now is the time to show the world the United States firmly stands with our friend and ally Israel in our condemnation of this heinous attack by Iran-backed terrorists," McCaul said in a statement.

  • McCaul said when the bill comes to the floor, he expects it to "receive overwhelming bipartisan support."
  • "The bipartisan resolution will demonstrate this is one issue in which the US House of Representatives is united, and I expect it to pass the House with broad bipartisan support," said Meeks.
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