White House calls House GOP’s $17.6B Israel aid bill a ‘cynical political maneuver’

The White House criticized House Republicans on Saturday for unveiling a $17.6 billion bill that would provide additional aid to Israel amid its ongoing war in the Middle East, calling it a “cynical political maneuver.”

The administration specifically criticized the bill, which Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said the House would vote on next week, disparaging GOP lawmakers for singling out aid for only one U.S. ally — as the Senate negotiates on the bipartisan border and aid package.

“For months the administration has been working with a bipartisan group of Senators on a national security agreement that secures our border and provides support for the people of Ukraine and Israel,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement released Saturday. “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.” 

The statement comes as Johnson announced a “clean, standalone” Israel aid bill earlier on Saturday.

The new legislation, which Johnson called a “clean, standalone” bill, would buck the development made in the upper chamber as senators continue to negotiate on the bipartisan bill. While text hasn’t been made public yet, it is expected sometime this weekend.

The $17.6 billion bill comes after the lower chamber passed a $14.3 billion Israel aid package last November that had parallel cuts to the IRS funding. It passed with a 226-196 vote in the House, but has not been taken up in the Senate. 

The White House urged the House GOP, again, to work with the administration and the Senate in passing the national security bill, which does include funding for Ukraine, a priority for President Biden. 

“We strongly oppose this ploy which does nothing to secure the border, does nothing to help the people of Ukraine defend themselves against Putin’s aggression, and denies humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians, the majority of them women and children, which the Israelis supported by opening the access route,” Jean-Pierre wrote. “House Republicans should instead work in a bipartisan way, like the administration and Senate are doing, on these pressing national security issues.”

However, Johnson said Friday that if reports about potential terms of the deal were true, it would be “dead on arrival” in the House.

Tags Biden administration border bill Israel aid Joe Biden Karine Jean-Pierre Mike Johnson supplemental funding request

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