House lawmakers are working on a bipartisan response to the International Criminal Court (ICC) after its top prosecutor said he was seeking arrest warrants against both Hamas and top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told Fox News Digital during his weekly press conference Thursday that the top Republican and Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and ranking member Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., were discussing a path forward.

Jeffries added that he himself had not heard from Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., who reiterated his commitment to hitting back at the ICC during his own press conference on Wednesday.

‘There are ongoing discussions, as I understand it, between Chairman McCaul and ranking member Gregory Meeks, and the objective is trying to reach bipartisan consensus with respect to the International Criminal Court,’ Jeffries said. 

McCaul told Fox News Digital when reached for comment, ‘The ICC is a flawed and politically motivated judicial body. In addition, the ICC has no jurisdiction here and its announcement violates its own stated position as a court of last resort.’

‘Israel has a robust judicial system, so there is no need for the ICC to get involved here. Congress needs to respond with strong, bipartisan sanctions. We do not know what a final bill will look like, but all relevant parties are discussing options,’ McCaul said.

With the House facing a week-long recess after Thursday’s afternoon votes, it’s likely the chamber will not see action until June.

But Johnson told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that he was looking at multiple options for a response.

‘There’s some great ideas on the table. We’re down to the fine points of that,’ he said, adding that he discussed the matter directly with Netanyahu on Friday and intended to do so again that day.

‘This is a great threat to the international community and to our allies, and to us ultimately, as explained earlier, so we’re getting down to the fine points of that and, hopefully, it will be a bipartisan bill and that everybody will be able to stand together,’ Johnson said.

One possible option is a House bill introduced earlier this month by Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., a Foreign Affairs Committee member who worked with the IDF, and Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas.

Roy told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that he anticipated their bill would be ‘about 90% where we would end up,’ but said it was up to Johnson and McCaul.

‘The only debates are waiver questions,’ Roy said. ‘In our bill we have a waiver provision, but the waiver is contingent on the ICC backing away from what they’re doing in going after Netanyahu, otherwise there is no waiver. There’s some debates about whether you want to give some greater latitude on the waiver. We’ve proposed some different alternatives to try to build a consensus on it.’

Mast told reporters on Wednesday morning that Democrats were seeking broader waiver powers for President Biden.

‘There’s a lot of back and forth right now between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats want there to be a presidential waiver in any sanctioning so they can let these people in for U.N. General Assembly or whatever it is that they want. We totally disagree with that. It should be handling these people in totality,’ Mast said.

Mast said he anticipated a vote sometime in early June.

When reached for further comment, Johnson’s office said it had nothing to add beyond his and Jeffries’ remarks. 

Notably, the Mast-Roy bill has seen its support swell since the ICC’s announcement earlier this week from 15 original co-sponsors to 62 – roughly a quarter of the House GOP conference. 

Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., who is not a co-signer but supports a response to the ICC, urged strong U.S. action.

‘I think we need to be emphatic that a globalist organization does not have purview and domain over sovereign nations just writ large,’ he said. ‘I think there’s fundamentally a problem with countries being subjected to a very arbitrary and capricious globalist organization like this, that really has a political bent to it.’

Israel, like the U.S., is not under ICC jurisdiction. The Palestinian territories joined in 2015.


This post appeared first on FOX NEWS
Author