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White House says Biden would veto standalone Israel funding bill: 'Another cynical political maneuver'

The White House on Monday blasted a standalone funding proposal for Israel separate from other national security needs, calling it a “cynical political maneuver” and warning that President Biden would veto the legislation.

The Office of Management and Budget took aim at the $17.6 billion Israel bill that is set for a vote in the House this week, while the Senate is teeing up a vote on a bipartisan bill that includes funding for Israel, Ukraine and border security.

“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,” the White House said in a “Statement of Administration Policy.”

“Instead of working in good faith to address the most pressing national security challenges, this bill is another cynical political maneuver,” the statement continued.

“The security of Israel should be sacred, not a political game. The Administration strongly opposes this ploy which does nothing to secure the border, does nothing to help the people of Ukraine defend themselves against [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] aggression, fails to support the security of American synagogues, mosques, and vulnerable places of worship, and denies humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians, the majority of whom are women and children.”

The White House urged members in both chambers of Congress to vote against the bill and said Biden would veto the measure if it reached his desk.

The House is set to vote on the standalone funding bill for Israel, which does not include any funding cuts. The GOP-led House previously passed aid for Israel, but it included cuts to the IRS, upsetting Democrats who noted emergency funding requests typically do not include such offsets.

Johnson on Monday said Biden’s vow to veto the measure is “a betrayal of our great ally and friend Israel in their time of desperate need.”

“Israel’s at war, they’re fighting for their very existence, and the idea that Joe Biden would suggest that he would not send a clean funding measure to assist them is just outrageous,” Johnson told reporters Monday evening. “I think he’s gonna hear quite a bit about that veto threat.”

Even if the standalone bill passes in the House, it faces longer odds in the Democrat-controlled Senate, where lawmakers are more focused on the bipartisan border security package unveiled Sunday night.

That bill includes $20 billion for border security and would give the federal government temporary authority to expel migrants when the average number of daily crossings exceeds a set threshold, end “catch and release,” raise standards for asylum screenings and seek to process claims quicker, among other provisions.

The bill also includes $60 billion in funding for Ukraine in its war against Russia, $14.1 billion for Israel in its fight against Hamas and aid for Indo-Pacific allies, mirroring a proposal the White House made to Congress late last year shortly after the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

Mychael Schnell contributed. Updated at 8:02 p.m.

Source: The Hill

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