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42 House Dems defy Biden, vote for ICC sanctions in response to Netanyahu threats

Forty-two House Democrats voted with Republicans on a bill to sanction the International Criminal Court in response to its top prosecutor seeking arrest warrants against top Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The bill, led by Reps. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Brian Mast, R-Fla., passed along bipartisan lines in a 247-155 vote on Tuesday.

The modest left-wing support comes despite the White House releasing a statement in opposition to the bill – though the Biden administration stopped short of threatening to veto the measure.

‘There are more effective ways to defend Israel, preserve U.S. positions on the ICC, and promote international justice and accountability, and the Administration stands ready to work with the Congress on those options,’ the White House said in a statement on Monday.

House lawmakers were engaged in bipartisan talks last month to respond to the ICC after chief prosecutor Karim Khan said he would seek arrest warrants against both Israeli and Hamas officials over the war in Gaza. Those talks apparently broke down, however, with the White House’s statement being the final nail in the coffin.

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, lamented the lack of bipartisanship in crafting the measure. He told Fox News Digital that he had been working with his Democratic counterpart, ranking member Rep. Greg Meeks, D-N.Y., on a bipartisan compromise, but that their effort had been shut down by the White House.

‘Meeks and I worked out a compromise bill that everybody was happy with and he talked to [House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.]. And I mean, our deal is like, if it’s not bipartisan…when we talked to Netanyahu, that’s what he wanted – it’s kind of worthless,’ McCaul said.

‘They raised it to the White House’s attention and they did a complete about-face. And while they were for sanctions previously, now they’re against.’

During debate on the House floor on the measure, Meeks acknowledged the bipartisan effort but criticized the bill being vote on on Tuesday, arguing it had a ‘chilling effect on the ICC as an institution and hamper the court’s effort to prosecute serious atrocities that have been perpetrated around the world.’

Too often in our foreign policy, we turn to sanctions as a first choice rather than a tool of last resort. Sanctions should not be our only go-to punishment to express our displeasure, because they have real consequences,’ Meeks said.

When asked about the breakdown in bipartisan talks earlier, Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., also blamed the White House in comments to Fox News Digital.

‘I worked on it all weekend. I worked on it up until Sunday, late Sunday, in an effort to make it bipartisan, and I think that members of the House and Senate were interested in doing so. But the White House gave the red light and said that they would not support sanctions, which was unconscionable to us,’ Johnson said. ‘And I think that’s that’s why it sort of broke down. But we had to move. We couldn’t wait any longer. We need to send this message.’

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., told Fox News Digital that the bill is still not a partisan effort and called on the Democrat-controlled Senate to take up the bill.

‘By passing our nonpartisan bill to sanction the ICC for absurdly equivocating Israel to Hamas as a war criminal, the House just sent a resounding message to the world that we unapologetically stand with our ally over barbaric terrorists. The question remains: Which side will Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer choose?’ Emmer said.

Fox News Digital reached out to Schumer for comment.

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS

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