The International Criminal Court building
The International Criminal Court buildingReuters

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed legislation that would sanction the International Criminal Court (ICC) for requesting arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, The Associated Press reported.

The 247-155 vote amounts to Congress’ first legislative rebuke of the court since its decision last month to seek arrest warrants for the leaders of Israel and Hamas. The move was widely denounced in Washington.

While the House bill was expected to pass, it failed to attract significant Democratic support, dulling its chances in the Senate.

Both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee acknowledged the bill in question is unlikely to become law and left the door open to further negotiation with the White House. They said it would be better for Congress to be united against the Hague-based court.

The Biden administration has denounced the ICC decision but has stated that it opposes sanctions against the court.

White House spokesperson John Kirby said in a briefing with reporters last week that sanctions were "not the right answer" to deal with the ICC arrest warrants, adding that the administration opposes that approach.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who spoke after Kirby, reiterated that message and said legislation against the ICC "is not something the administration is going to support."

"Sanctions on the ICC are not an effective or appropriate tool to address US concerns. We will work with Congress on other options to address the ICC overreach," she said.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller on Tuesday reiterated the administration’s opposition to the sanctions bill.

“We have made clear that while we oppose the decision taken by the prosecutor of the ICC, we don’t think it is appropriate, especially while there are ongoing investigations inside Israel looking at somebody’s very same questions, and we were willing to work with Congress on what a response might look like but we don’t support sanctions,” Miller said, according to AP.

Last week, a group of 19 pro-Israel House Democrats wrote a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in which they pushed back on the White House's opposition to impose sanctions against the ICC.