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Liberal Democrats Urge ‘No’ Vote on Israel Aid to Pressure Biden on Gaza

A group of left-leaning House Democrats is urging its colleagues to oppose the $26 billion aid package for Israel expected to pass on Saturday, hoping to maximize the number of “no” votes from the party in a bid to send a warning to President Biden about the depth of discontent in his political coalition over his support for Israel’s tactics in Gaza.

Framing the upcoming vote as a make-or-break moral choice akin to Congress’s votes to authorize and fund the Iraq war, progressive leaders in the House are working to muster a sizable bloc of Democratic opposition to the aid measure, which is all but certain to become law in the coming days.

“In the wake of those votes, people came around much, much later and said, ‘We shouldn’t have allowed that to go forward,’” Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington and the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said of the decades-ago debate over Iraq. “And I think that this is that moment.”

Representative Joaquin Castro, Democrat of Texas, called it a “defining vote,” adding, “We’re either going to participate in the carnage, or we’re not.”

There is little doubt that the bill, which would send roughly $13 billion in military assistance to Israel as it continues its offensive in Gaza, will pass the House, along with money for Ukraine, Taiwan and other American allies.

But progressive Democrats estimated that 40 to 60 members of their party may oppose it on the House floor on Saturday. That would be a striking signal from Congress, where ironclad bipartisan backing for Israel has long been the norm. And it would highlight the fraught divisions the war in Gaza has sown within the Democratic Party, even as more Democrats including Mr. Biden have begun to criticize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to the conflict and urge him to better protect civilians.

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