More than 100 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill on Wednesday that aims to block the Biden administration’s efforts to reopen the U.S. consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem.
The bill, known as the Upholding the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law Act of 2021, prohibits the use of funds for any diplomatic facility in Jerusalem other than the United States Embassy to Israel. It was sponsored by Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) and co-sponsored by 100 other Republicans, including House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).
The legislation is a companion piece to one introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and is being supported by the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and the Faith & Freedom Coalition.
In a statement, Kustoff said that the proposal to reopen the consulate would be “inconsistent” with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.
“This bill is necessary to ensure the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 is faithfully implemented, upheld and preserved. I thank all my colleagues for joining me in introducing this legislation and sending a strong message that we stand shoulder to shoulder with our greatest friend and ally in the Middle East, Israel,” he said.
Under the Trump administration, the United States fully implemented the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 by officially and formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s unequivocal capital in 2017, relocating the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in May 2018, and merging the previous consulate general to the Palestinians into the embassy in 2019, becoming known as the Palestinian Affairs Unit.
“The Biden administration absolutely must not betray our critical alliance with Israel by reopening the U.S. consulate general in Jerusalem, which is being pushed by the Palestinian Authority to divide Israel’s eternal capital,” said Zeldin, who earlier this month led more than 200 House Republicans in a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden opposing the consulate’s reopening.
In recent days, two Democrats—Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Juan Vargas (D-Calif.)—have also broken with the Biden administration and announced that they oppose the move without the consent of the Israeli government.