February 06, 2024

Casten Statement on Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Congressman Sean Casten has released the following statement after voting against H.R. 7217, legislation to provide supplemental appropriations to respond to the attacks in Israel:

“The United States has a duty to provide aid to our allies in their times of need. That includes Israel, and I stand ready to support serious efforts to assist Israel in its absolute right to defend itself. This legislation is not that. Hamas gains power in the region in part because they are the provider of food, fuel, water, and housing. The United States must provide necessary humanitarian aid to Gaza to rebuild, suppress the power of extremist voices, and help ensure a more durable regional peace. 

“The bill voted on by the House this week fails to provide a single penny of humanitarian aid; that failure makes it inhumane to Palestinians and reduces the long-term security of Israelis. That is incompatible with a two-state solution and cannot be seriously considered.

“Additionally, while I will always support the Israeli people, I remain concerned about the rhetoric used by Netanyahu and question his commitment to long-term peace and security through diplomacy.

“Support for our closest ally in the Middle East should not be partisan, and prior to Speaker Johnson’s tenure, has never been treated as a partisan issue in Congress. In the 100 days Speaker Johnson has held his office, he has twice used aid to Israel as a political pawn. First, to cut money from the IRS and allow the wealthiest Americans to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Second, a standalone package considered by the House, proposed in a partisan attempt to undermine the prospect of bipartisan legislation to address our national security needs in the Middle East and Ukraine and ensure humanitarian aid is delivered to Gaza. 

“Speaker Johnson was clear in his plan. If Congress were to pass a standalone package to provide aid to Israel, Republicans could block much-needed aid to Ukraine. We cannot support one American ally if it means rejecting another in their time of need. 

“Congress must immediately pass legislation to help Ukraine fight back against the Russian invasion, ensure Israel has the resources needed to defend itself, and address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Anything less is unacceptable.”

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