House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., lashed out at President Biden Monday evening after the White House threatened to veto House Republicans’ stand-alone Israel aid bill.
‘The President’s veto threat is an act of betrayal,’ Johnson said in a statement.
‘Israel is at war, fighting for its very right to exist, while our brave men and women in uniform are in harm’s way on his orders to deter Iran. In threatening to veto aid to Israel and to our military forces, President Biden is abandoning our ally in its time of greatest need. I urge friends of Israel and opponents of Iran to call the President’s bluff and pass this clean aid package.’
Johnson announced over the weekend that he intends to pass legislation to send $17.6 billion to Israel as it fights a war against Hamas. It is expected to be voted on later Tuesday, fast tracked under suspension of House rules — meaning it would bypass a procedural hurdle known as a rule vote in exchange for raising the threshold for passage to two-thirds of the chamber rather than a simple majority.
The White House panned the bill as a ‘cynical political maneuver’ made in response to the Senate’s bipartisan negotiations on security funding and border policy.
‘The Administration spent months working with a bipartisan group of Senators to reach a national security agreement that secures the border and provides support for the people of Ukraine and Israel, while also providing much-needed humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by conflicts around the world,’ a statement from the Office of Management and Budget said.
‘Instead of working in good faith to address the most pressing national security challenges, this bill is another cynical political maneuver. The security of Israel should be sacred, not a political game. The Administration strongly opposes this ploy which does nothing to secure the border, does nothing to help the people of Ukraine defend themselves against [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] aggression, fails to support the security of American synagogues, mosques, and vulnerable places of worship, and denies humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians, the majority of whom are women and children.’
One of Johnson’s first acts as speaker was putting a $14.3 billion Israel aid bill on the House floor, but the funding would have been offset by money Biden allocated to the IRS.
That bill passed the House with some Democratic support, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., panned it as a nonstarter.
‘During debate in the House and in numerous subsequent statements, Democrats made clear that their primary objection to the original House bill was with its offsets,’ Johnson wrote on Saturday. ‘The Senate will no longer have excuses, however misguided, against swift passage of this critical support for our ally.’