April 20, 2024

Rep. Watson Coleman Statement on Foreign Aid Funding Package

Washington, D.C. (Saturday, April 20, 2024) — Today, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) voted on a series of foreign aid bills to support our allies in the Indo-Pacific; send desperately-needed aid to Ukraine as they fend off Russian aggression; provide humanitarian aid to people suffering around the world; and to impose economic sanctions on Russia and Iran.

Rep. Watson Coleman issued the following statement:

“In October of last year, I called for a three-pronged approach to foreign aid in response to the growing needs of Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza. I said then what I still believe now: we must swiftly meet the defensive needs of Ukraine and Israel and deliver desperately-needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

“In the months since, the situation in Gaza has become dire. The seemingly indiscriminate bombing has killed over 34,000, including 13,000 children, along with the family members of many residents of New Jersey’s 12th District. During this time President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken have stressed to their counterparts in Israel the need to take greater care to avoid civilian casualties. Sadly, even after these repeated entreaties the casualties keep mounting. 

“After careful consideration, reflection, and prayer, today I voted in favor of three of the four foreign aid bills that were brought to the floor of the House of Representatives. I voted to support Ukraine as it defends its territory from Russian aggression, to shore up our allies in the Indo-Pacific as they stave off expanding Chinese authoritarianism, and to impose sanctions on Iran and Russia. I did not vote to send more money to the Israeli military.

“Although I have historically supported funding for Israel’s defensive capabilities such as the Iron Dome, I could not in good conscience vote to send further offensive weapons to the far-right Netanyahu government. 

“To do so would pivot away from the goal of achieving lasting and sustainable peace for the region and securing the return of Israeli hostages. I believe in a two-state solution, in peace, and in accountability; continuing to send offensive capabilities to Israel steers us away from those goals. I cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of civilians trapped in harm's way by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has time and time again shown no regard for the lives of Palestinians and sought no serious diplomatic means to peaceful coexistence. 

“This is not a choice I made lightly. Throughout my time in Congress, whenever Israel has asked for assistance I have voted to provide them the funding they needed to defend themselves from the threats they continuously face. When I came to Congress I did so with the goal of doing the most good for the most people. I remain committed to that philosophy. 

“Had H.R. 8034 funded only the defensive capabilities of our Israeli allies as they defend themselves from Iran and their proxies Hezbollah and Hamas, it would have earned my vote. 

“As for the three bills I supported, they will make America and our allies safer. They will help people who sorely need it — from our vulnerable allies in the Indo-Pacific, to Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines fighting for their freedom from Russian tyranny. 

“I’m looking forward to January, when Democrats retake control of the House of Representatives, and we can make significant progress on the serious challenges facing our country, and the world.”