The Republican-controlled House approved a military aid package of nearly $14.5 billion for Israel on Thursday.
The new House speaker, Mike Johnson, adopted an unconventional approach by insisting on offsetting emergency aid with government spending cuts, causing a predominantly party-line decision.
Johnson stated that the package aims to equip Israel for its defense, secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, and address the removal of the militant Palestinian group.
However, it did not include any humanitarian assistance for Gaza or funding for Ukraine, both of which the White House seeks to include in its request for nearly $106 billion, covering Israel, Ukraine, Gaza, U.S. border security, and other essential requirements.
President Joe Biden has stated his intention to veto the bill, which passed by a vote of 226-196, with 12 Democrats aligning with the majority of Republicans.
“Rather than putting forward a package that strengthens American national security in a bipartisan way, the bill fails to meet the urgency of the moment by deepening our divides and severely eroding historic bipartisan support for Israel’s security,” the White House said in a statement. “Denying humanitarian assistance to two million Palestinian civilians, the majority of them women and children, would be a grave mistake. A deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza will also undercut Israel’s security and regional stability."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the House package unacceptable, saying it has no chance of passing the Senate.
"The Senate will not take up the House GOP’s deeply flawed proposal and instead will work on our own bipartisan emergency aid package that includes aid to Israel, Ukraine, competition with the Chinese government, and humanitarian aid for Gaza," Schumer said.
While Johnson promised a Ukraine aid package after addressing Israel, he said it needs added border security measures, creating more uncertainty around Ukraine funding in Washington.
House Republicans plan to fund the bill with IRS cuts, a move the Congressional Budget Office predicts will cost the government $12.5 billion in lost revenue. This raises the total cost, including the aid package, to over $26 billion, according to the Associated Press.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
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