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Published on April 22, 2024
Illinois Delegation Splits over $95B Aid Bill, United for Ukraine, Divided on IsraelSource: Illinois Courts

In a rare Saturday session, House Representatives from Illinois took decisive stands on a sweeping $95 billion foreign aid package, with votes cast in favor of supporting beleaguered nations such as Ukraine and Israel, while also addressing broader security concerns in regions like the Indo-Pacific. The aid for Ukraine, amounting to a hefty $61 billion, passed with resounding support as the nation persists in its defense against Russian aggression. Contrarily, a $26 billion package aimed at assisting Israel and providing aid to Gaza elicited dissension among Illinois Democrats with notable opposition from Reps. Delia Ramirez, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, and Jonathan Jackson, as garnered from statements received by ABC7 Chicago.

Ramirez justified her stance, affirming, "Every time I look at legislation, I ask myself if it is going to bring us closer to lasting peace and prevent a regional war." Her qualms with the bill stem from the belief that additional aid would only fuel the ongoing strife, saying, "When it comes to unconditional aid to the extremist, warmonger Netanyahu, the truth is that one more dollar to him would serve to bomb children, divide us further and dismantle any chance at long-lasting peace." Jackson echoed her sentiments in a statement obtained by The Chicago Sun-Times.

The Illinois delegation showcased unified support for the Ukraine portion of the aid package, with Democrats voting in unison for the bill that passed 311-112. Rep. Darin LaHood, cleaving from some of his GOP cohorts, cast a 'yes' vote after recognizing America's vested interest in staving off Russian encroachments. LaHood stated, "As a member of the Intelligence Committee, I’ve read reports that I believe paint a stark picture of the grave threats America and our allies face."

All Illinois delegates also found common ground in backing the issue of Taiwan and Indo-Pacific security, with an $8.12 billion supplemental passing 385-34. The package, aimed at bolstering defenses, passed with the no votes rising solely from Republicans. Concurrently, Congress passed "The Peace Through Strength Act," targeting entities that support Palestinian groups identified as terrorists and mandating the sale of TikTok. The bill amassed backing from a broad bipartisan cohort, navigating through Congress with a 360-58 vote. In Illinois, the dissenting votes included those of Jackson, Ramirez, Garcia, and Rep. Danny Davis, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.