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Congressional staffers protest Israel vote, Republican calls for them to be fired

Thursday

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A group of House staffers protested on the steps of the Capitol Thursday, May 16, as lawmakers voted on and ultimately approved the Israel Security Assistance Support Act inside. If it were signed into law, the bill would prohibit the Defense Department from delaying or canceling congressionally approved military aid to Israel. 

The staffers called on President Joe Biden and Congress to immediately end U.S. support for Israel. 

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“We have answered hundreds of thousands of messages from constituents demanding an immediate cease-fire, a surge of humanitarian aid and the release of all hostages,” Sam Elghanayan, a staffer for Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said. “Instead, disclosures to Congress indicate that the Biden administration is sending $1 billion in additional weapons to Israel and has yet to commit to a meaningful freeze of weapons transfers to Israel.”  

As the protesters walked back to their offices, Republican lawmakers countered with American flags and reiterated their support for Israel and the legislation.  

“Israel ought to have the right to have America’s unconditional support in its pursuit of those who caused October 7,” Rep. Nick LaLota, R-N.Y., said. 

Reporters asked some of those representatives what the best way for staffers to protest would be. The question drew a blunt answer from Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y. 

“Well with all due respect, the American people didn’t elect these staffers, they elected their representatives,” Lawler said. “Their representatives are here, they have a right to vote how they want. If these staffers don’t like that, then they should resign. That would be their best way to protest. They have no business taking taxpayer money, which is what they’re doing when they come during work hours to protest, and wasting that taxpayer money to voice their opinion that, frankly, nobody asked them for.” 

“Should they be fired?” a reporter asked.  

“Yes, they should be fired immediately,” Lawler said. 

The protests were for a bill that has a low chance of becoming a law. The Senate is not likely to vote on it and President Biden said he would veto it. However, House Republicans brought the bill forward anyway to make vulnerable Democrats take a tough vote.

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[RAY BOGAN]

A group of House staffers protested on the steps of the Capitol, as lawmakers voted on and ultimately approved the Israel Security Assistance Support Act inside. If it were signed into law, the bill would prohibit the defense department from delaying or canceling Congressionally approved military aid to Israel. 

The staffers called on President Biden and Congress to immediately end US support for Israel. 

[SAM ELGHANAYAN]

“We have answered hundreds of thousands of messages from constituents demanding an immediate ceasefire, a surge of humanitarian aid and the release of all hostages. Instead, disclosures to Congress indicate that the Biden administration is sending $1 billion in additional weapons to Israel and has yet to commit to a meaningful freeze of weapons transfers to Israel.”  

[RAY BOGAN]

As the protestors walked back to their offices, Republican lawmakers countered with American flags and reiterated their support for Israel and the legislation.  

[REP. NICK LALOTA]

“Israel ought to have the right to have America’s unconditional support in its pursuit of those who caused October 7.”

[RAY BOGAN]

Straight Arrow News asked the lawmakers, “What is the right way for staffers to protest, regardless of what side of the aisle they’re on, if a staffer disagrees with what congress is doing?” 

That drew a blunt answer from Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y. 

[REP. MIKE LAWLER]

“Well with all due respect, the American people didn’t elect these staffers, they elected their representatives. Their representatives are here, they have a right to vote how they want. If these staffers don’t like that, then they should resign. That would be their best way to protest. They have no business taking taxpayer money, which is what they’re doing when they come during work hours to protest, and wasting that taxpayer money to voice their opinion that, frankly, nobody asked them for.” 

[REPORTER]

“Should they be fired?” 

[REP. MIKE LAWLER]

“Yes, they should be fired immediately.”

[RAY BOGAN]

All this was for a bill that isn’t going anywhere. The Senate isn’t going to vote on it and President Biden said he’d veto it. But House Republicans brought it forward anyway to make vulnerable Democrats take a tough vote.