The Senate voted along party lines Tuesday to table a motion to proceed on the House-passed bill that would provide $14.3 billion in emergency aid to Israel and pay for it by cutting the Internal Revenue Service’s budget.
The vote came after a group of Senate conservatives ambushed Democrats by offering a surprise motion to proceed on the House bill, which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) had previously called “a total nonstarter.”
President Biden also threatened to veto the House bill.
The Tuesday afternoon vote ended a tense standoff on the Senate floor during which Democrats suspended business to block Republicans from proceeding to the measure on the same day that tens of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington to rally for Israel.
Senate conservatives including Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) repeatedly requested consent to end a quorum call to move to the bill.
Each time, they were met with an objection from Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
“The quorum call is right now just freezing the floor of the Senate. My assumption is that Chuck Schumer and Democratic leadership is in their office panicking and trying to figure out what to do next. Their objective is to prevent a vote,” Cruz said during the standoff.
Murray, however, put an end to it by calling for a vote to table the motion to proceed to the House-passed Israel bill.
The Senate then voted 51 to 48 to table it.
Democrats would have had to vote on the bill sooner or later because Senate conservatives had collected 16 signatures on a cloture petition to end debate.
A Democratic aide said the group of GOP senators had attempted to “usurp” the majority leader’s “prerogative” to control the floor schedule but noted the tactic has been used before.
Schumer, a staunch ally of Israel, dismissed the House bill earlier this month as “unserious and woefully inadequate,” pointing out that the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would add $12 billion to the budget deficit.
A dozen Democrats voted for the House GOP Israel aid proposal in the lower chamber.