Chaos In The Senate as Lawmakers Vote 72-11 - Biden BLOCKED!

Chaos In The Senate as Lawmakers Vote 72-11 - Biden BLOCKED!

In a strong bipartisan move, the Senate decided to table a resolution that would have mandated the State Department to report on Israel's activities in Gaza following the country's declaration of war on Hamas after a surprise attack on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,300 people and the abduction of hundreds, including Americans.

This decision follows President Joe Biden's two instances of bypassing Congress to approve weapon sales to Israel, which is actively conducting operations in Gaza.

The resolution included a request: “The Senate requests that the Secretary of State, not later than 30 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution, transmit to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, pursuant to section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2304(c)), a statement regarding Israel’s human rights practices that has been prepared in collaboration with the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and the Office of the Legal Adviser.”

The resolution was tabled with a 72-11 vote, and 17 senators did not participate.

Earlier this month, some Senate Democrats expressed dissatisfaction with Biden following his initial decision to bypass Congress and send additional weapons to Israel amid its Gaza offensive.

“The Defense Department said Friday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had notified Congress about its second emergency determination to cover over $147.5 million in equipment sales, including new fuses and chargers for the 155 mm shells already purchased by the Israeli military,” reported the Washington Examiner at the time.

Blinken stated: “Given the urgency of Israel’s defensive needs, the secretary notified Congress that he had exercised his delegated authority to determine an emergency existed, necessitating the immediate approval of the transfer.”

By law, this emergency declaration allows the Executive Branch to bypass the usual congressional review required for U.S. military equipment sales to other countries.

The Examiner also noted:

But it is the second such emergency weapons sale the Biden administration has greenlit for Israel in less than a month without congressional approval. Blinken used the same powers just weeks earlier, on Dec. 9, when the administration pushed through a separate $106.5 million tranche of weapons funding to purchase nearly 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition.

The back-to-back emergency declarations for Israel sparked fresh criticism from Senate Democrats who have cited concerns that the Israeli military has failed to take the necessary steps to prevent civilian causalities in Gaza, as the death toll surpasses 21,000, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Moreover, some Democrats criticized the method used by the State Department to authorize the sales. They argued that utilizing an emergency determination to approve the weapons for a foreign military bypasses a crucial check on the Executive Branch.

“Unnecessarily bypassing Congress means keeping the American people in the dark,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) told Punchbowl News. “We need a public explanation of the rationale behind this decision — the second such decision this month.”

By excluding the Legislative Branch from the decision-making process for foreign military sales, the Biden administration’s actions “undermine transparency and weaken accountability,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) stated.

The weapons sent to Israel have “been used to devastating effect in Gaza, contributing to the death and injury of countless civilians and the displacement of an estimated 2 million people,” noted Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT).

“The war in Gaza has generated immense controversy and concern in the United States and around the world,” Welch added. “The president should follow the established procedure of submitting his arms sales recommendations to Congress for prior approval.”

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