Biden and Dem Leaders Reject Stand-Alone Aid Bill for Israel

(Alex Wong/Getty Images)
February 6, 2024

President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders in Congress this week said they will oppose a stand-alone bill to send aid to Israel.

A Monday statement from the White House declared that Biden would veto the $17.6 billion bill, which includes aid for the Jewish state, that House Republicans have promoted in the wake of the introduction of a bipartisan Senate bill that includes provisions on border security, as well as aid for American allies such as Israel and 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," read the statement. "Instead of working in good faith to address the most pressing national security challenges, this bill is another cynical political maneuver."

The next day, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) expressed similar sentiments in a letter to his Democratic colleagues he signed, along with House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D., Mass.) and House Democratic Caucus chair Pete Aguilar (D., Calif.).

"We are prepared to support any serious bipartisan effort, in connection with the special relationship between the United States and Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East," the letter read. "Unfortunately, the stand-alone legislation introduced by House Republicans over the weekend, at the eleventh hour without notice or consultation, is not being offered in good faith. Rather, it is a nakedly obvious and cynical attempt by MAGA extremists to undermine the possibility of a comprehensive, bipartisan funding package that addresses America's national security challenges in the Middle East, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific region, and throughout the world."

The House Democrats' letter added that its authors believe Israel is entitled to remove Hamas as a threat and endorsed Biden's stance that "America's commitment to security is ironclad and unbreakable." House Speaker Mike Johnson (R., La.), however, called Biden's threat to veto aid to Israel an "act of betrayal" in a Monday 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," Johnson's statement read. "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 bipartisan deal Biden, Jeffries, and others have endorsed includes $14.1 billion for Israel, but Johnson said Sunday on X that it would be "dead on arrival" in the House because it "won’t come close to ending the border catastrophe the President has created."

This is not the first time congressional Republicans have accused Biden of betraying Israel. GOP members of the House and Senate slammed the president last week after leaked reports indicated that the administration was considering the recognition of a Palestinian state at a time when Israel is fighting to destroy Hamas.

"As Joe Biden signals that the clock on his support for Israel is running out—a White House endorsement of a two-state solution would be the worst betrayal of our strongest ally in the Middle East, a reversal on decades-long U.S. policy, and a reward to Hamas terrorists who committed the most barbaric attacks against the Jewish community since the Holocaust," Rep. Tom Emmer (R., Minn.) told the Washington Free Beacon.