April 20, 2024

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Votes Against Unconditional Israel Funding, Supports Ukraine and Taiwan Aid

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-12), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, released the following statement on the national security funding bills voted on today by the House of Representatives: the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024; the Ukraine Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024; the Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental Act, 2024; and 21st Century Peace through Strength Act.

“As Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, I strongly support passing urgently needed humanitarian aid for the millions of civilians who have been harmed due to the wars in Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, Haiti and across the globe.

“However, in the midst of this dire crisis in the Middle East, I could not support HR 8034 as it combines badly needed aid with lethal weaponry. Furthermore, the bill fails to restore funding for UNRWA, the major humanitarian organization on the ground in Gaza. This is a grave abdication of U.S. humanitarian obligations. It is simply nonsensical to provide badly needed humanitarian assistance while simultaneously funding weapons that will be used to make the humanitarian crisis in Gaza worse. 

“Since the start of the conflict, the Israeli government has ignored, slow-rolled, or outright opposed the Biden administration’s requests for more targeted operations, for a day-after plan, and to allow much greater quantities of humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. The results of this approach are clear. With over 33,000 Palestinians killed, dozens of hostages still held in captivity by Hamas, a famine taking hold in northern Gaza, and the threat of all-out regional war rising, passing this security assistance package reinforces that Prime Minister Netanyahu can act with no real conditions from the United States. The United States taxpayers should not be funding unconditional military weapons to a conflict that has created a catastrophic humanitarian disaster. 

“I voted to support funding for Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression. We must help their fight to preserve their democracy. The extreme right’s sympathy toward Vladimir Putin is dangerous, and the United States’ support for Ukrainian sovereignty, the Ukrainian people, and their democracy must not waver. I also voted for funding that supports our Indo-Pacific partners against China’s advances. 

“Finally, I could not support the grab bag of misguided national security priorities present in H.R. 8038. This chaotic legislative process Speaker Johnson and MAGA Republicans have chosen is gravely inefficient. Our allies around the globe are looking toward the United States for its leadership, and the dysfunction of the MAGA Republicans continues to hamstring Congress from adequately doing its job.”