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April 20, 2024

Rep. Pressley’s Statement on Israel and Ukraine Foreign Aid Votes

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement on her votes today on the House’s votes on foreign military aid packages for Israel, Ukraine.. 

Yesterday, Rep. Pressley filed a pair of amendments to increase funding to global humanitarian assistance and place a one-year moratorium on the transfer of offensive weapons to the Israeli military. The amendments were not adopted in the final legislation. 

“In this moment of growing global conflict, I have consistently advocated for policies and budgets that save lives, promote de-escalation, and work toward peace across the globe.

“It is unconscionable that Congress would consider sending more offensive weapons and funding to the Israeli military, which for months has operated with callous disregard for human life in Gaza and perpetrated significant human rights violations. Over 34,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, millions of civilians in Gaza are on the brink of famine, and over 100 hostages are still held captive by Hamas. While I support Israel’s right to defend itself—especially following the horrific October 7th attack and I grieve deeply for those impacted—we cannot bomb our way to peace and become complicit as the Netaynahu government continues to massacre the Palestinian people. I voted NO on H.R. 8034 and continue to call for the United States to facilitate a lasting, bilateral ceasefire to save lives, return all hostages, deliver meaningful humanitarian aid to Gaza, and negotiate a long-term diplomatic solution that results in a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

“I also believe Congress should provide long-overdue assistance to help the Ukrainian people defend themselves against Vladimir Putin’s unjust and illegal invasion. This conflict has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of innocent people and displaced millions of others, and my heart breaks for the Ukrainian and Russian civilians who have had to deal with this unspeakable trauma. While I never take a vote on military aid lightly and believe diplomacy and humanitarian aid should be the priority, we have an obligation to stop Putin’s unjust invasion. I voted YES on H.R. 8035.

“I am encouraged that Democrats were able to secure some global humanitarian aid in these bills, which will help mitigate these worsening crises. However, I am deeply disappointed that the Republican majority did not consider my amendment to drastically surge humanitarian aid to address the crises in Gaza and Ukraine, as well as in Haiti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and others. We must continue to prioritize global humanitarian assistance, including restoring critical funding for UNWRA.

“As a parent, woman of faith, and caregiver, I pray that we can build a world where all of our children can thrive and know peace, whether they’re in Massachusetts, Gaza, Ukraine, Israel, or Haiti.” 

Since the horrific October 7th attack, Congresswoman Pressley has consistently and stridently called for a ceasefire to save lives, return all hostages, and surge humanitarian aid to Gaza. This week, Rep. Pressley delivered a floor speech in which she called or urgent de-escalation in the Middle East and renewed her calls for a ceasefire in Gaza to prevent a broader regional war.

As Co-Chair of the House Haiti Caucus, Rep. Pressley has also led calls for extending Temporary Protected Status for Haiti, a halt to deportations, a Haitian-led democratic transition, the delivery of humanitarian, economic and security assistance to the island, and more.

Throughout the Israel and Hamas conflict, Rep. Pressley has been a vocal and consistent advocate of diplomacy, de-escalation, and saving lives.

  • Rep. Pressley joined Congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) and their colleagues on a resolution condemning Hamas’ brutal attack and hostage-taking, and demanding Hamas immediately release all hostages.
  • Rep. Pressley joined Reps. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), James P. McGovern (MA-02), and 50 colleagues on a letter condemning the terrorist attacks by Hamas on the people of Israel, calling for Israeli military operations to follow the rules of international humanitarian law, and continuing to work toward peace in the region.
  • Rep. Pressley joined her colleagues in announcing a resolution urging the Biden Administration to call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Israel and Gaza, to send humanitarian aid and assistance to Gaza, and to save as many lives as possible. She later joined her colleagues and a multi-faith, multiracial coalition of faith leaders and organizers for a prayer and press conference to renew their calls for a ceasefire. Rep. Pressley also joined dozens of rabbis and Members of Congress for a press conference to renew calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.
  • Rep. Pressley delivered a floor speech in which she condemned antisemitism, Islamophobia, and all forms of hate on college campuses.
  • Rep. Pressley joined a coalition of nearly 100 interfaith clergy and faith leaders on a joint statement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
  • Rep. Pressley joined Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), and nearly 150 colleagues in urging the State Department to use all tools at its disposal help get Americans out of Israel and back home to the United States. She applauded the State Department for heeding her calls on October 12, 2023 and continues to press for the urgent evacuation of Americans in Gaza.
  • Rep. Pressley issued a statement following the safe evacuation of Massachusetts constituents Wafaa and Abood Okal and their one-year-old Yousef from Gaza.
  • Rep. Pressley and Rep. Jamie Raskin led a group of 60 House lawmakers in urging the State Department to affirm the United States’ strong opposition to the forced and permanent displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, and to support an increase in humanitarian aid to the region.
  • Rep. Pressley joined Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Mark Pocan (WI-2), Betty McCollum (MN-4) and 20 of their colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden, asking him to support a bilateral ceasefire in Gaza to protect the one million children living there.
  • Rep. Pressley joined a coalition of interfaith clergy and faith leaders for a vigil to mourn the tens of thousands of Palestinians, Israelis, and innocent civilians killed since October 7th, and to renew calls for a ceasefire to save lives, return all hostages, and deliver humanitarian aid to the region.
  • Rep. Pressley joined her colleagues at a press conference to condemn the Israeli government’s pending invasion of Rafah and continued her calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.
  • Rep. Pressley joined her colleagues in calling for full funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to provide urgent humanitarian relief to Gaza.
  • Rep. Pressley joined Representatives Joaquín Castro, Jamie Raskin, Jan Schakowsky and 33 House Democrats to President Biden urging him to prevent an Israeli ground invasion of Rafah.
  • Rep. Pressley, amid heightened tensions in the region, delivered a floor speech in which she called for urgent de-escalation in the Middle East and renewed her calls for a ceasefire in Gaza to prevent a broader regional war.