February 5, 2024

White House Criticizes House GOP's Massive Israel Aid Bill

The White House criticized House Republicans on Saturday for introducing a $17.6 billion bill aimed at providing additional aid to Israel amid the ongoing Middle East conflict, labeling it a "cynical political maneuver."

In response to the bill announced by Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), the administration condemned GOP lawmakers for focusing solely on aid for Israel while bipartisan negotiations were underway in the Senate for a broader border and aid package.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement on Saturday, expressing frustration over the timing of the House Republicans' move.

The statement emphasized ongoing bipartisan efforts in the Senate on a national security agreement encompassing support for Ukraine and Israel.

Jean-Pierre stated, "Just as legislative text is imminent, the House Republicans come up with their latest cynical political maneuver. The security of Israel should be sacred, not a political game."

Johnson had earlier unveiled the "clean, standalone" Israel aid bill, diverting from progress made in the Senate's bipartisan negotiations.

While the text of the bill is yet to be disclosed, it was expected to be made public at any time.

The $17.6 billion proposal follows the House's passage of a $14.3 billion Israel aid package in November, which included corresponding cuts to IRS funding. The House vote resulted in a 226-196 majority but has not been taken up in the Senate.

Despite House Republicans' push for the standalone Israel aid bill, the White House urged collaboration with the administration and the Senate on the broader national security bill, which includes funding for Ukraine—a priority for President Biden.

Jean-Pierre criticized the GOP move, stating, "House Republicans should instead work in a bipartisan way, like the administration and Senate are doing, on these pressing national security issues."

In response, Johnson indicated on Friday that if reported terms of the Senate deal were accurate, it would be "dead on arrival" in the House.

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