May 16, 2024

“Joe Biden Did the Right Thing”: Congressman Castro Delivers Floor Speech Against Republican Bill to Force Weapons Shipments to Israel

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, delivered a floor speech in opposition to H.R. 8369, a Republican bill that would limit President Biden’s discretion to ensure that the delivery of weapons systems and defense articles to Israel aligns with U.S. foreign policy objectives. H.R. 8369 was introduced in response to President Biden’s decision earlier this month to pause a shipment of 2,000-pound bombs to Israel given concerns about civilian casualties from a potential Israeli invasion of Rafah.

H.R. 8369 would put unprecedented limitations on executive authority to implement foreign policy and could defund significant portions of the budgets for the U.S. Defense Department, State Department, and National Security Council.

Joaquin Castro

Congressman Castro speaks on the House Floor in opposition to H.R. 8369.

A video of his floor remarks can be downloaded here.

A transcript of Congressman Castro’s remarks is below:

I rise in opposition to H.R. 8369 because Joe Biden did the right thing.

He made the right decision.

The United States is a friend to the people of Israel.

The United States is not a rubber stamp to an extremist prime minister who has not prioritized the release of hostages.

Who has allowed for indiscriminate killings in Gaza, and who has put his own political survival above all else.

Chairman McCaul said something I think, that was very important.

After October 7, the world stood with Israel  expressed support for Israel.

I believe all of us did, in a bipartisan way.

And so, what has happened since then?

Prime Minister Netanyahu has ruined the world’s support.

He's done so by not focusing on the hostages, but by allowing his military to bomb hospitals, ambulance convoys, people's homes  to take out journalists, aid workers, including Americans.

Moral compass does not bend in favor of one nation, regardless of what it does.

That's why the President has done what he has done.

And the President's leverage matters.

When President Biden has taken steps to exercise his leverage, we've seen immediate results.

Last month, President Biden told Israel to open the Erez crossing in northern Gaza.

Three days ago, dozens of WFP flour trucks entered through the Western Erez crossing, bringing desperately needed food to starving families.

After the president paused a 2000-pound bomb shipment -- less than 1% of total weapons shipments to Israel – the Israeli Defense Minister raised concerns for the first time that Netanyahu has no plan to rescue the hostages or establish a functioning Palestinian government in Gaza.

So, this, in many ways, is our last chance.

We must do the right thing ourselves.