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By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo: CC-By-SA via Bing

February 7, 2024 (Washington, D.C.) -- A standalone bill to provide $17.6 billion in emergency aid to Israel amid its fight with Hamas failed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, with mixed support from the San Diego Delegation.

Democrats Sara Jacobs and Scott Peters opposed it, while Democrats Mike Levin and Juan Vargas joined Republic Darrell Issa in voting for it.

The vote was 250 to 180, falling short because it was introduced under an expedited procedure requiring a two-thirds majority for passage.

Most Democrats said they wanted a vote instead on a $118 billion, bipartisan Senate bill combining an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy and new funding for border security with billions of dollars in emergency aid for Ukraine, Israel and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. However, former President Donald Trump has panned that deal.

“If we want the U.S. to lead on the world stage, we have to be able to address the numerous security challenges we’re facing simultaneously,” said Jacobs. “This bill was a clear ploy by Speaker (Mike) Johnson to use aid to Israel as a political wedge and to end all discussions about humanitarian aid to Gaza … and support for Ukraine in their fight against Putin’s aggression.

“I support providing defensive aid to Israel — but that can and must be paired with our additional priorities and responsibilities.”

Levin said he voted in favor of the bill “for the defense of the Israeli people,” but criticized Johnson for “partisan political games” at a time of crisis.

“He and his extreme far-right flank only care about the approval of one man — the former President — and they put him before the rest of the nation,” Levin said.

Peters said he is a “staunch supporter of Israel’s right to defend itself and ensure the return of hostages” but also described the bill as a political ploy.

“It has no chance of becoming law and Republican leadership knows this but chose to play politics with Israel’s future, which is shameful,” Peters said.

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