What’s Next in Congress After Passage of Foreign Aid Package

The House is scheduled to take up several bills, with the most notable being legislation to combat anti-Semitism on college and university campuses.

After passing a $95 billion package last week that included assistance to Israel, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific, and a bill with measures such as banning TikTok, Congress returns next week from a week-long break.

The House is scheduled to take up seven bills, with the most notable being legislation to combat anti-Semitism on college and university campuses, The Epoch Times has learned.

The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which has been introduced over the past few Congresses, would codify into law an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in 2019.

The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.), would have the U.S. government adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which was in the executive order in applying the definition government-wide as the standard in dealing with anti-Semitic incidents, especially on college and university campuses. (The State Department adopted the definition on its own in 2016 under President Barack Obama.)

The IHRA working definition is “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

There are examples of anti-Semitism under the definition including hatred toward the Jewish state of Israel.

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The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act would apply Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to Jews. Title VI prohibits entities that receive federal taxpayer dollars from discriminating on the basis of race, national origin, or color.

While Jews are technically considered a religious group, which Title VI does not cover, the bipartisan bill states that “discrimination against Jews may give rise to a violation of such title when the discrimination is based on race, color, or national origin, which can include discrimination based on actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.”

The legislation would allow for colleges and universities to lose federal funding if they fail to address, or insufficiently address, anti-Semitism on their campuses.

The bill comes amid a wave of virulent anti-Semitism on campuses such as Columbia University, Harvard University, and Yale University.

Jewish and pro-Israel groups have called on Congress to pass the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act.

Additionally, the House is expected to take up measures related to federal lands and removing the gray wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Motion to Vacate?

Republicans have expressed frustration with House Speaker Mike Johnson, who succeeded former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in October after the latter was stripped of the gavel following a successful motion to vacate.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) filed a motion to vacate in March after Mr. Johnson put forth a $1.2 trillion bill to fund most of the government. At the time, she said the motion was a warning shot to the speaker.

Following the passage of the foreign aid package, Ms. Greene had stronger words for Mr. Johnson, who put forth the bills. She threatened to put the motion to vacate on the House floor, which would force a vote.

“Mike Johnson’s speakership is over. He needs to do the right thing to resign and allow us to move forward in a controlled process. If he doesn’t do so, he will be vacated,” Ms. Greene told Fox News on April 21.

However, Democrats have said or suggested they would come to Mr. Johnson’s rescue if he put the package on the House floor.

Ms. Greene’s motion has the support of Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.).

Senate Schedule to be Determined

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has not released a schedule for the upper congressional chamber.

Mr. Schumer’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

But in a letter to colleagues on April 5, Mr. Schumer listed agenda items that the Senate has yet to take up.

This includes funding for the Port of Baltimore and the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which collapsed on March 26 when a container ship ran into it.

“It will take bipartisan cooperation for the Senate to act quickly to help reopen the Port of Baltimore, a major artery for commerce, and rebuild the Key Bridge as quickly as possible,” wrote Mr. Schumer.

The Biden administration has not given Congress a specific dollar amount, but has called on Congress to allocate funding to address the situation.

Finally, Mr. Schumer, in his letter, listed other goals including passing legislation dealing with internet safety for children; expanding the child tax credit, which expired at the end of 2021; cannabis banking; internet affordability; combating the fentanyl crisis; lowering the cost of prescription drugs such as insulin, capping that drug at $35; and rail safety in the aftermath of the 2023 East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment.

“There are many important, bipartisan issues this Congress could address this year, and I hope our Senate Republican colleagues don’t allow the ultra-right wing of their party to derail progress on these bipartisan bills,” he wrote.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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