‘Political Ploy’: Biden Threatens to Veto House GOP’s Standalone Israel Aid Bill

Planned veto of the standalone aid bill comes amid opposition from Republicans to the bipartisan Senate national security package.

President Joe Biden will veto a standalone aid package for Israel backed by Republicans and set to be voted on by House lawmakers this week, the White House has announced.

In a Jan. 5 statement, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) branded the funding measure that has garnered wide support from GOP lawmakers just “another cynical political maneuver” aimed at weakening the bipartisan Senate national security package.

That latter funding package—the result of months of behind-the-scenes negotiations between Senate Republicans and Democrats—is now facing mounting resistance from both Senate and House Republicans amid concerns over its border security provisions and funding to Ukraine.

“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,” the White House statement read.

“Instead of working in good faith to address the most pressing national security challenges, this bill is another cynical political maneuver,” it continued. “The security of Israel should be sacred, not a political game,” the statement continued.

President Biden’s administration stated that it “strongly opposes this ploy” which it said fails to secure the U.S. border amid the ongoing immigration crisis or adequately aid Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing invasion.

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The alleged ploy also “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,” OMB said.

‘Reject This Political Ploy’

The White House concluded the statement by calling for both chambers to “reject this political ploy” and vote on the Senate national security bill instead.

President Biden’s planned veto of the standalone bill comes amid opposition from Republicans over the Senate’s $118.2 billion legislative package, which includes roughly $60 billion in aid to Ukraine, $14.1 billion for Israel, $10 billion in humanitarian assistance for the Gaza Strip and around $5 billion for Indo-Pacific partners.

The measure also includes roughly $20 billion aimed at strengthening security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) took the first procedural step in getting the bill passed in the Senate; setting up a first vote scheduled for Wednesday.

However, the measure is facing stiff opposition from Republicans over key provisions, including one that grants the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) power to close down the border if the daily average of illegal immigrant encounters reaches 4,000 in one week.

If this threshold is reached, then the DHS secretary could shut down the border by denying illegal immigrants the ability to apply for asylum. If, however, average encounters reach 5,000 a day over a given week, then the DHS secretary would be required to shut down the border to enable officials to process all of the illegal immigrants.

Some Republican lawmakers argue that the provision would serve to further incentivize thousands of illegal border crossings, with 4,000 daily crossings still amounting to over 1.4 million illegal immigrants per year. The measure would also grant the president the power to suspend a border closure “on an emergency basis” if it is in the national interest.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) speaks at a roundtable on the southern border at the U.S. Capitol, on Jan. 31, 2024. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) speaks at a roundtable on the southern border at the U.S. Capitol, on Jan. 31, 2024. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Biden’s Veto Threat ‘An Act of Betrayal’

It also does not include a restoration of former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which remains a sticking point among many GOP lawmakers.

The deal also faces opposition from progressive Democrats who argue it does nothing to provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for many years, including “Dreamer” illegal immigrants who were brought in as children.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has repeatedly indicated he would reject the bipartisan Senate bill, and instead vote this week on the Republican-backed measure providing aid only to Israel.

“The president’s veto threat is an act of betrayal,” Mr. Johnson said in a statement on Monday evening. “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,” the House Speaker concluded.

Other Republicans were also quick to criticize President Biden on Monday after he threatened to veto the bill, with one branding his actions “galactically dumb.”

“All politics aside, the most galactically dumb thing that we can do is turn our partner away on a bill that would get bipartisan support just because of politics,” Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) told Axios.

Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) told the publication that President Biden’s domestic policy is “appeasing the radical left” while his foreign policy is “appeasing Iran.”

“Supporting Israel goes against both,” the lawmaker said.

Jackson Richman, Joseph Lord, and Reuters contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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