GOP writes AIPAC to explain ‘no’ vote


Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives is sending a letter
to AIPAC explaining why the party voted against a foreign aid funding bill that
includes $2.4 billion for Israel.

overall funding bill of $34.2 billion for foreign operations passed late
Thursday night 241-178, mostly along party lines in the Democratic majority

opposed the overall bill because it restores some funding for contraception aid
to overseas groups that provide abortions. Rejecting such funding has been a
Republican red line for over two decades.

Senate has yet to consider its own version of the bill. If the amendment
restoring the funding survives the Senate-House conference, President Bush is
sworn to vetoing it.

American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbied hard for the inclusion in the
bill of $2.4 billion in defense assistance for Israel and another $40 million in refugee assistance.

In a P.S.
attached to a memo to all Republicans instructing them to vote “no,”
minority leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio.) adds: “Members are advised
that the Leadership has drafted a letter to AIPAC affirming Republican support
for Israel funding, not withstanding final
passage of this bill. This letter will be available for Members to sign
at the Leadership Desk on the floor tonight. A copy of that letter is

attached mostly symbolic pro-Israel amendments to the bill. One by Rep. Mike
Pence (R-Ind.), reaffirming existing policy banning assistance to groups that
reject israel’s existence, passed 390-30.

moved by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), also passed. It cuts funding to the
U.N. Human Rights Council and to Saudi
Arabia. The United
States does not participate
in the council, and aid to Saudi
Arabia has never surpassed

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