U.S. Sen. Katie Britt supports House GOP’s Israel aid-only package
U.S. Sen. Katie Britt of Alabama, addresses a crowd at a breakfast hosted by the Chamber of Commerce in Montgomery on Nov. 3, 2023. (Alander Rocha/Alabama Reflector)
Republican U.S. Sen. Katie Britt of Alabama said Friday she supported House Republicans’ Israel aid-only package, passed on Thursday.
The Republican-controlled U.S. House Thursday approved a $14.3 billion aid package for Israel that included cuts to the Internal Revenue Service. The House GOP caucus said it would offset the costs of aid to Israel, but outside organizations, including the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, said it would increase the deficit by at least $12 billion due to a lack of IRS enforcement.
But speaking to a gathering of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, Britt cited U.S. national debt, currently estimated at $33.7 billion, when discussing the offsets in the House bill.
“That’s not only fiscally irresponsible, it is morally irresponsible,” she said, referring to the national debt. “That is happening on the backs of our kids and our kids’ kids. It is unsustainable, and we’ve got to start paying for things — balancing our budget.”
The bill does not include aid for Ukraine, Taiwan or the U.S. Mexico border. Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky have criticized the House bill for those exclusions, and the Democratic-controlled Senate is not likely to bring it up for a vote.
Congress has about two weeks to avoid a government shutdown. Britt, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, noted the looming deadline.
“You’re obviously see what the House is doing currently, so we will probably do — I don’t know if they will try to take a [continuing resolution] vehicle and move that along with the supplemental,” she said.
Britt said she met new House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana for the first time Wednesday.
“I really enjoyed the conversation. I did not know anything about the Speaker, had never had the opportunity to meet Speaker Johnson but appreciated his words,” she said.
Mild support for Tuberville
Britt also offered mild support to Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, who has blocked military promotions in protest of a Defense Department policy extending leave and reimbursing servicemembers for travel related to abortion or fertility treatments.
“When you look at the policy that was put in place by the Biden administration, it violates the spirit of the Hyde Amendment. Taxpayer dollars — it’s something that we have always said are not going to go to fund or facilitate abortions,” she said.
The Department of Defense has cited law giving it broad authority to reimburse authorized travel.
But Britt said she supported finding a path forward that “continues to protect life” while allowing the Senate to confirm military personnel.
“That’s the priority of the conference right now,” she said. “We’re having those conversations, obviously with Senator Tuberville at the lead, and we look forward to finding a resolution.”
Britt condemns Hamas
Britt also spoke in strong support of Israel’s military actions in Gaza, condemning Hamas, which launched terrorist attacks on Israel on Oct. 7, as the enemy of both Israel and the Gaza Strip.
“Hamas is evil. They have said that their number one mission is to wipe Iran off the face of this planet and to wipe the Jewish people off the face of this planet,” and compared the conflict to the Holocaust.
“As a nation, we have to be able to call evil ‘evil’, when after the Holocaust, we said, ‘Never again,’ and never again means ‘never again,’” she said.
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The Oct. 7 attacks killed 1,400 people and led to more than 240 hostages being taken.
Israel has launched retaliatory air strikes and a ground offensive . Authorities in Gaza, which is run by Hamas, say 8,796 people — including 3,648 children — had been killed as of Nov. 1, Reuters has reported.
When asked if she’s concerned that Israel may be committing war crimes, Britt said that Israel is trying to have a targeted approach, but “at the end of the day, they have to eradicate Hamas.”
She asked the reporter, who is Latino, if he was “from here” and compared the Hamas attack to the 9/11 attacks and the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, but she said there were differences.
“Because the next day, we woke up and we were able to say the enemy was miles away. Their enemies are literally next door, and it is not the people of Gaza, it’s Hamas,” she said.
She said that Israel allowed humanitarian aid to come into Gaza, such as fuel, water and medicine along with the targeted airstrikes.
“That’s why you don’t see a huge airstrike attack across the entire region. They’re trying to be targeted and do that in the very best way possible,” she said.
While airstrikes have been concentrated in Gaza City in the north, Israeli airstrikes in the south continue to cause civilian deaths. Israeli airstrikes also recently struck a refugee camp near Gaza City, but Israel said that it targeted Hamas, according to a PBS report.
The U.S. Mexico Border
Britt also blamed Biden for the U.S.-Mexico border conditions, such as migrants crossing without being apprehended by law enforcement — calling them “gotaways,” and called the situation a “humanitarian and a national security crisis,” adding that it’s “inhumane” and “unsustainable.”
Britt argued that women are being sexually assaulted regularly and that migrants are being harassed by cartels for money once they are living in the U.S. She also said the border patrol told her about “pulling lifeless bodies of kids and mothers from the river.”
Women are regularly sexually assaulted and face disproportional dangers in crossing the border, and the Gulf Cartel and the Northeast Cartel kidnap migrants for ransom, particularly those who arrive without smugglers’ protection, according to a Reuters report.
“These people aren’t living an American Dream, truly they’re living in an American nightmare,” she said.
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