CBC divided over the Biden-Harris administration response to the Israel-Hamas conflict 

Opinions differ on whether a cease-fire would be prudent. 

In the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict, members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are split over calls for a cease-fire in response to the Middle Eastern conflict.

When asked about a cease-fire, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said, “of course not” to reporters during his weekly press conference. He emphasized that he was following President Joe Biden’s lead.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, theGrio.com
U.S. House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) speaks Sept. 29, 2023, during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Jeffries and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus are split over calls for a cease-fire in response to the Middle Eastern conflict. (Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

“The overwhelming position of the House Democratic Caucus is we will continue to stand by Israel,” he said, before noting three areas of support.

First, Israel must successfully defeat Hamas and rid the region of this brutal terrorist regime. Second, we have to do everything possible to bring the hostages back home safely and securely,” he added.

“Third, we have to make sure that we secure the humanitarian assistance for Palestinian civilians who are in harm’s way through no fault of their own,” Jeffries stated.

On Thursday, the White House announced that Israel agreed to a daily four-hour humanitarian pause in an effort to release hostages held by Hamas and for civilians to flee from northern Gaza.

Since Hamas launched an attack against Israel on Oct. 7, more than 10,000 have died in Gaza, and more than 1,400 have lost their lives in Israel.

CBC Chairman Steven Horsford, D-Nev., told theGrio, the caucus supports “President Biden in calling for a humanitarian pause.”

“We join with President Biden in calling for a humanitarian pause to allow, first and foremost, the hostages to be released and to protect the innocent civilians, Palestinians and Israelis who are now caught in the middle of this war between Hamas and Israel,” he said.

However, in recent weeks, caucus members like Reps. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., Cori Bush, D-Mo., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., have been vocal and demanded that President Biden urge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to enact a cease-fire to prevent further bloodshed.

Bowman told theGrio that the U.S. has “tremendous influence over what Israel does because we give them $3.8 billion in military aid every year, and we are now moving a bill through Congress to give them an additional 14 or 15 billion dollars.”

“We need to push for an immediate cease-fire and immediate release of the hostages and an immediate building of a Palestinian state,” he said.

We’re allowing Netanyahu to do what he wants to do, which is to annex part of the Palestinian territories, to expand Israel for the Jewish community and to push Palestinians out and or kill them, which is what’s happening right now in Gaza,” he added.

House Democrats Hold Press Conference On Need To End Filibuster
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) speaks during a news conference to advocate for ending the Senate filibuster, outside the U.S. Capitol on April 22, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Bush said that a cease-fire would abate the violence in the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

On Oct. 16, Reps. Bush, Summer Lee, D-Pa., Andre Carson, D-Ind., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and nine other House Democrats introduced the Ceasefire Now Resolution urging the Biden-Harris administration to call for an immediate cease-fire in Israel and Palestine.

In a recent interview with theGrio, Bush stated, that the Biden-Harris administration is “enabling” the “violence” in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

She continued, “I am disturbed by our government’s willingness to immediately cave to calls for unconditional support and write a blank check for the Israeli military while blatantly ignoring the violence and dehumanization of Palestinian civilians.”

Bush stated that a cease-fire would de-escalate the violence in the Gaza Strip and preserve innocent Palestinian lives.

Although the CBC is divided, Rep. Jeffries told theGrio, that he does not believe this will cause tension between caucus members.

“On every issue, we work through policy arguments that are advanced by different people, and then individual members will choose where they land on a given issue,” he said.

“The overwhelming majority of Black Caucus members have made it clear that we stand by President Biden, and we’ll continue to stand by President Biden during a very difficult moment for our country, for Israel, and for the free world,” he added.

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