Mitch McConnell calls for legislation backing Israel despite Speakerless House

October 10, 2023

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday afternoon called for an emergency appropriations package tying additional funding for Israel with military aid to Ukraine. 

McConnell’s call came in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal in the wake of Israel’s  declaration of war against Hamas, following the terrorist organization’s brutal attack on Gaza on Saturday. 

Since Saturday’s strike, more than 1,000 people have died and 3,400 others have been injured in Israel according to authorities there, while Palestinian authorities have said that at least 830 people have died and another 4,250 were wounded in Gaza.

McConnell also called for the West to “reimpose extensive multilateral sanctions on Tehran and deny Iranian planes overflight rights.” 

On Monday, U.S. officials said Iran was complicit in Hamas’ assault on Israel, but both U.S. and Israeli officials conceded they’re still seeking a smoking gun to link Iran to direct involvement in Hamas’ attack.

However, Congress, which holds the federal government’s purse strings, is currently hamstrung in the aftermath of last week’s ousting of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the Speaker’s seat. 

The vacancy in the Speaker’s chair has essentially paralyzed the lower chamber until a successor is chosen.

House Republicans met behind closed doors Monday to discuss where their conference goes next, and an internal election among House Republicans is set for Wednesday, but so far, no formal vote to elect a new Speaker has been scheduled. 

Republican lawmakers also planned to return to the House Tuesday evening to hear from the candidates hoping to replace McCarthy—House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH).

House Democrats were also set to meet Tuesday and are expected to unanimously back House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) when the formal vote takes place, though backing him amounts to a formality since the Democrats lack the numbers to pick the Speaker.

PHOTO: McConnell Senate floor remarks last month

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