Wash Po Opinion Comments On Biden’s Israel Policy
President Biden has issued a veto threat against a standalone House bill that would provide $17.6 billion in aid to Israel if it reaches his desk. The announcement came late Monday from the Office of Management and Budget, stating that the administration views the bill as a “cynical political maneuver” and urges Congress to reject it in favor of a larger national security supplemental funding bill.
The veto threat comes after months of negotiations between the administration and Congress on the Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, which would provide aid not just to Israel, but also to Ukraine and make changes to border security. Despite this ongoing work, House Republicans intend to move forward this week with a vote on the standalone Israel aid bill.
In a letter to his colleagues, House Speaker Mike Johnson asserted that they will “take up and pass a clean, standalone Israel supplemental package.” However, this approach is unlikely to receive a favorable response in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has already taken steps to advance the larger emergency national security supplemental bill.
According to the OMB, the security of Israel is a “sacred” matter that should not be used as a “political game.” In their statement of administration policy, they also emphasized the importance of addressing the most pressing national security challenges instead of pursuing political agendas.
The Washington Post changed their headline from “Is America complicit in Israel’s bloody war in Gaza?” to “Has the Israel-Gaza war changed your feelings about being American?” pic.twitter.com/6SOT0k3CmO
— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) February 5, 2024
The timing of the veto threat has raised questions, as it comes just days after a ceasefire was announced in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. However, the administration’s stance has remained consistent throughout the negotiations, with President Biden expressing his support for Israel’s right to defend itself while also calling for a de-escalation of violence.
The House Republicans’ decision to push for a standalone aid package for Israel has been met with criticism from Democrats, who have accused them of playing politics with national security. Some have also pointed out that separating aid to Israel from other national security interests could have negative diplomatic consequences.
In contrast, the Senate’s work on the larger supplemental bill has been praised by Schumer, who described it as the result of “months of tireless effort” from everyone involved. He also stressed the importance of passing the bill and doing the “right thing for America.”
The Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act has been a top priority for the Biden administration, and they have been pushing for its passage since it was first introduced in March. The bill provides critical aid to Israel and Ukraine, as well as addresses other important national security issues. It also includes provisions to address the ongoing crisis at the border.
As the debate continues between House Republicans, Senate Democrats, and the White House, the fate of the Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act remains uncertain. However, one thing is clear – the administration remains committed to providing aid to Israel and addressing the most pressing national security challenges, and will not hesitate to veto any bill that they view as a political maneuver.