On Friday, the last day before the annual congressional August recess, new legislation (H.J.Res. 76) was introduced on the US Senate floor and rushed to passage in both the Senate and US House. The legislation gives the Israel government another $225 million dollars for the Iron Dome system Israel is using in the ongoing Israel-Palestine war.
On the Senate floor the speakers line-up of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), along with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ), lauded the legislation before it passed by a voice vote.
No opposition was voiced on the Senate floor.
In the House, the entire consideration of the legislation on the House floor consumed less than two minutes and included no substantive comments whatsoever regarding the legislation.
When the roll call vote occurred later in the evening, the legislation passed in the House by a vote of 395 to 8.
Reid began the non-debate on the Senate floor. He proposed that the new legislation be substituted for legislation that had been passed in the House over nine months earlier and since had absolutely no action in the Senate.
After speeches by Reid, McConnell, McCain, and Graham, the new legislation passed in the Senate by unanimous consent, meaning no Senator blocked approval of the legislation’s passage and that there is no recorded vote from which individual senators’ approval or disapproval may be identified.
In the time between the introduction of the new legislation and its adoption in the Senate, not a negative word could be heard. Instead the Senate floor resounded with statements praising Senate bipartisanship and “friendship” between the US and Israel governments.
McConnell started off the good times and backslapping, stating, “this is a good example of our being able to put aside partisan considerations and work together to help our good friend Israel.”
Advancing further the expressions of joint admiration on the Senate floor McConnell next said, “I particularly want to salute Senator Graham and Senator McCain, who have been absolutely relentless in their efforts to make sure we send this important signal to Israel at a very tough time for them.”
Friendship was in the air as McConnell continued, “I think it is important for us to send a signal that the United States stands behind one of its best friends — if not its best friend — in the world.”
Up next, McCain continued the bipartisan and intergovernmental friendship celebration, stating:
I thank again our majority leader and the Republican leader for coming together on this most important signal. This isn't just about money. It is a signal from the American people and the American taxpayers that we are with the Israelis…Then came Graham, who McCain introduced warmly by noting, “There has been no one more relentless in this effort than the Senator from South Carolina.”
Graham did not disappoint in his relentless expression of unity across party and government lines. “It is so appropriate that today, of all days, the Senate speaks in one voice,” said Graham early on in his comparatively long-winded comments. “I cannot thank Senator Reid enough for making this happen,” continued Graham.
Then, when the subject shifted from the Senate to the Israel government, Graham’s speech took a Churchillian turn:
It is not only the missiles that matter; it is the message that goes with the missiles: We are with you. Here are the missiles. Use them to defend yourself. We will stand with you on the battlefield. We will stand with you in the court of public opinion, and we are going to push back against the United Nations, which is becoming more and more anti-Israeli. As dysfunctional as the Congress has been, this is one of our finer moments.Graham concluded with a restating of the bipartisanship and intergovernmental friendship message:
To our friends in Israel: There is more to come when it comes to standing by your side.Reid, though, got the better of his Republicans in the good vibes contest. After noting “there are times when partisanship does not exist” and confirming his “faith in this institution and our sticking by our friend,” Reid noted that the US is not doing nearly enough for Israel. The two governments are friends after all.
I thank both leaders of the Senate for rising to the occasion.
The situation in Israel is grave. We think this Iron Dome protects Israel. It protects a lot of Israel. But Israel does not have enough Iron Domes — plural — to protect them. They need more. But this will certainly be a step in the right direction.Reid then concluded with a flourish:
I don't know of a bond of friendship that we have or ever had in world history better than this one, and so I will stand by Israel. I will stand by Israel for a lot of personal reasons but certainly for political reasons, and I have no hesitation in declaring to the world that is how I feel.With that said, the legislation immediately passed in the Senate by unanimous consent.
On the House floor, when the legislation had made its way across the Capitol building, the mood was much different. Instead of backslapping and boasts about bipartisanship and best-friends-ever governments, the House members on the floor moved with determined speed through introducing the legislation and calling a roll call vote.
There was no time in the House for rhetorical flourishes of any kind.
Were the House members afraid that some mood-killing party crasher might be running down a hall toward the House floor to scream “I object!”?
Whatever the motivation, the representatives on the House floor very quickly ran through the procedural motions to pass the legislation without even the slightest semblance of debate.
The entire House consideration of the legislation took less than two minutes.
An observer of the House floor action would likely not even understand that the Israel war funding legislation was being considered given that the legislation was only referred to using the old name of the bill the House passed in October rather than the name of the new substitute bill just passed in the Senate.
Watch here the entirety of the House consideration of the legislation — just short of two minutes of hurried procedural recitation:
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