With progressive “squad” members constituting a substantial majority of opposition, sixteen members of the House ultimately abstained from supporting a resolution that denounced Hamas for the October 7 slaughter of Israeli citizens.
Nine Democratic members voted against Resolution 771 on Wednesday:
- Jamaal Bowman of New York
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York
- Cori Bush of Missouri
- Rashida Tlaib of Michigan
- Summer Lee of Pennsylvania
- Ilhan Omar of Minnesota
- Andre Carson of Indiana
- Al Green of Texas
- Delia Ramirez of Illinois
Six Democrats voted “present”:
- Joaquin Castro of Texas
- Chuy Garcia of Illinois
- Nydia Velazquez of New York
- Pramila Jayapal of Washington
- Greg Casar of Texas
- Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts
The lone Republican to vote against the resolution was Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who stated that while he condemned “the barbaric attack on Israel,” he had grave concerns regarding certain provisions of HR 771.
In a post on X, Massie provided an explanation for his stance, stating that the resolution “asserts the necessity of foreign aid commitments which I have voted against.”
“Our country is going bankrupt and we can’t afford to borrow money to send overseas, yet this resolution states that we should,” Massie said, adding that “it contains an open-ended promise of military support that is so broad that it could be interpreted to commit US soldiers to the conflict.”
Massie also stated that he opposed the resolution’s references to sanctions against Iran. “Sanctions do not achieve their stated purposes but do breed resentment of our country abroad,” he said.
I condemn the barbaric attack on Israel and I affirm Israel’s right to defend itself.
However, I will not be voting for House Resolution 771 today because:
1) It calls for sanctions on a sovereign country. Sanctions are a prelude to war and hurt the citizens of the country more…
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) October 25, 2023
The resolution condemns “Hamas’ brutal war against Israel,” calls for Hamas to stop the attacks and free hostages, and “reaffirms the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security,” including sanctions against Iran.
The New York Times reports that HR 771 was a bipartisan initiative authored by Democrats and Republicans, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas and ranking member Gregory Meeks of New York.
“It condemns in the strongest possible terms the atrocities of Hamas and reiterates Israel’s right to defend herself along with America’s unwavering support for the state of Israel,” McCaul said, adding that the resolution “will send a clear message across the world that terrorists and their sponsors will be held to account.”
“This Congress will have Israel’s back as it degrades and eliminates Hamas terrorist infrastructure. We will not waver, we will not quit, we will stand with our ally Israel,” Meeks said.
Republican Rep. Mike Lawler of New York said opponents of the resolution “are not worthy of serving in this body.”
“If you cannot stand with Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East, a beacon of democracy, hope and freedom, you do not belong in this body — those members should resign in disgrace,” he said.
The resolution was the first act under the speakership of Mike Johnson, who won the gavel a few hours before the vote.
“Our nation’s greatest ally in the Middle East is under attack. The first bill that I’m going to bring to this floor in just a little while will be in support of our dear friend Israel, and we’re overdue in getting that done,” he said in a speech before the resolution was introduced.
“We’re going to show not only Israel but the entire world that the barbarism of Hamas that we have all seen play out on our television screens is wretched and wrong, and we are going to stand for the food in that conflict.”