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Jamaal Bowman

Progressives pose a problem for House Dems’ discharge plan

House Democratic leadership’s plan to throw its weight behind a discharge petition that would force the Senate supplemental on the floor is running into a progressive roadblock.

Left-wing members upset with the devastating war in Gaza are hesitant to back the petition thanks to $14 billion in unconditional aid that would go to Israel if the proposal is adopted.

For every progressive member who refuses to sign the petition, Democrats need a Republican to fill the void. That’s unlikely given the existence of a competing discharge petition — led by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Jared Golden (D-Maine) — that’s gained the support of a number of moderate Republicans and Democrats.

Most progressive lawmakers we spoke with said they were on board with every provision in the Senate foreign aid bill except for Israel. With more than 30,000 Palestinians already dead in the Israeli military campaign in Gaza, these progressives would only support defensive weapons for Israel.

“Sending an additional $14 billion to Israel right now while there’s collective punishment and starvation continues, I don’t support doing that,” Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) told us.

Reps. Greg Casar (D-Texas) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) also told us they don’t want to give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government more money for weapons.

“The offensive weapons being used in Gaza is where I have really significant reservations,” Casar told us. “That’s why I’m not on it today.”

Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) echoed that sentiment, saying she was fine with most provisions in the petition. She also said Democrats shouldn’t have to bail out Republicans on the issue of foreign aid.

“This is a Republican issue. They have to figure out how to bring it to the floor,” Jayapal told us. “I’m just not inclined to sign on — certainly not at this time.”

Prominent progressive Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) said they were still in the process of reviewing the details of the discharge petition.

— Max Cohen and Mica Soellner

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