Senators vote to table Sanders’ resolution on Israel and Gaza

While the issue continues to split Democrats, almost all Republicans voted against it and 17 senators missed the vote.

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Image Credit: Screenshot from U.S. Senate webcast

In a 72-11 vote, senators tabled a motion to advance Sen. Bernie Sanders’ resolution on Israel and Gaza. The resolution would have “significantly escalated congressional oversight of U.S. military aid to Israel,” Business Insider reported.

While the issue continues to split Democrats, almost all Republicans voted against it and 17 senators missed the vote entirely.

“We will be voting on a very simple question: Do you support asking the State Department whether human rights violations may have occurred using U.S. equipment or assistance in this war,” Sanders said. “I hope it is not controversial to ask how U.S. weapons are being used.”

The senators took a floor vote on Sanders’ resolution, which under the Foreign Assistance Act allows the House or the Senate to “request a State Department report on human rights practices by any country that receives aid from the US,” for the first time ever under this provision.

Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he voted against the resolution because he doesn’t support “risking the suspension of all U.S. assistance or publicly rebuking Israel in a way that could embolden its enemies.”

“Anyone who cares deeply about human rights should be disappointed if not disgusted by the Senate’s vote tonight,.” Jon Rainwater, executive director at Peace Action, said. “This vote blocked a State Department investigation of how U.S. weapons are being used by Israel. Senator Sanders’ resolution should have been uncontroversial. It didn’t cut off a penny of aid. It simply asked that the U.S. find out how U.S. weapons are being used given the massive humanitarian catastrophe being caused by Israel’s war. Seventy-one senators stood up and said ‘we don’t want to know.’ They voted to keep their heads in the sand.”

The 11 senators who backed Sanders’s resolution included:

  • Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky
  • Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico
  • Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon
  • Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
  • Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland
  • Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts
  • Democratic Sen. Laphonza Butler of California
  • Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico
  • Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii
  • Democratic Sen. Peter Welch of Vermont
  • Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts

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