Updated Apr 24, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Democrats mount last-ditch efforts to restrict U.S. arms to Israel

Rep. Dan Kildee, wearing a blue suit, white shirt and light blue tie, standing in front of the U.S. Capitol.

Rep. Dan Kildee. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Several groups of House Democrats on Thursday launched eleventh-hour attempts to restrict U.S. weapons sales and military aid to Israel as part of a foreign aid package set to be voted on later this week.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign of Democrats' growing frustration with Israel's war effort in Gaza.

Driving the news: A group of eight House Democrats led by Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) introduced an amendment that would restrict U.S. weapons transfers to Israel until a "full investigation" is completed into their use in Gaza.

  • The probe would determine whether they have been "used in accordance with the laws of the United States, international law, and international humanitarian law" and "not been used to violate human rights."
  • The amendment comes as House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) has so far declined to give his crucial sign-off on a sale of F-15s to Israel. If approved, the fighter jets would be delivered five years from now.
  • Kildee was joined by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Jamie Raksin (D-Md.), Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).

Zoom in: Several members of the progressive "Squad," who are among some of the most staunchly pro-Palestinian lawmakers in Congress, introduced similar amendments.

  • Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) introduced ones to increase the level of humanitarian aid to Gaza by $17.25 billion and enact a one-year moratorium on U.S. weapons transfers to Israel.
  • Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) introduced an amendment that would restrict all military aid to Israel from the bill until there is a "lasting ceasefire," a release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel and Israeli hostages in Gaza and a "credible diplomatic process."

By the numbers: The $26 billion Israel section of the $95 billion foreign aid package includes $4 billion for Iron Dome and other missile defense systems.

  • Other key components are $3.5 billion for weapons procurement, $1 billion for the production and development of munitions, and $2.4 billion for U.S. military operations in the Middle East.
  • Roughly $9 billion is earmarked for humanitarian aid.

Reality check: None of the amendments are likely to make it to the floor with Republicans in control of the House Rules Committee, which screens such amendments.

Editor's note: This story was corrected to show the $26 billion for Israel includes roughly $9 billion for humanitarian aid (not $26 billion for military aid to Israel).

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