House Republicans unveil $17.6 billion Israel aid bill, Biden calls proposal ‘a political game’

House Speaker Mike Johnson: ‘The need to support our closest ally and our own forces in the region has never been more pressing.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

House Republicans unveiled a $17.6 billion aid package to assist Israel in its war against Hamas; a move a White House spokesperson dismissed as a “cynical political maneuver.”

The House bill is in contrast to a Senate bill that would link aid to Israel to funding for Ukraine and a compromise on plans to increase security on the US-Mexican border.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre strongly condemned the House bill, stating that it was degrading aid to Israel by turning it into a political game.

She wrote in a statement, “The security of Israel should be sacred, not a political game.”

The statement continued, “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.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson said the funding bill, created by the House Appropriations panel, will be voted on next week.

The bill provides Israel with $4 billion towards its missile defense systems and $1.2 billion to combat threats from short-range missiles and mortar as well as additional amounts for advanced weapons systems an to produce artillery.

The bill also earmarks amounts to replenish US supplies with $4.4 billion for weapons and $3.3 billion to fund US operations.

In a letter, Mike Johnson wrote, “The need to support our closest ally and our own forces in the region has never been more pressing.”

However, the bill is unlikely to be accepted by the Senate in its current form, and is expected to create a compromise that will provide for Ukraine funding and additional security at the southern border; the vote is likely to be on Wednesday or earlier.

Although House Republicans have insisted for tighter controls along the border to combat increasing illegal immigration, Johnson says the border security funding in the Senate’s compromise bill is insufficient.

The Senate is also reportedly aiming to add funding for Taiwan and the White House has recommended that humanitarian aid for Gaza be included in the bill.

The House Speaker complained about the Senate’s working on its own on these issues and sidelining the House from discussions.

Read  Netanyahu defies Biden, asserts 'No other choice' on Rafah operation

Mike Johnson wrote in a letter, “As I have said consistently for the past three months, the House will have to work its will on these issues and our priorities will need to be addressed.”