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White House threatens to veto standalone Israel aid bill proposed by Republicans

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 6, 2024 9:24 AM 2 min read
U.S. President Joe Biden waves as he returns to the White House in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 19, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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U.S. President Joe Biden's administration said on Feb. 5 that he would veto a standalone bill on aid for Israel, sponsored by House Republicans, that does not include border security measures and assistance for Kyiv.

The White House instead appealed to Congress to pass the broader $118.2 billion funding request, which includes $60 billion for Ukraine, $14.1 billion for Israel, and $20 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border.

"The Administration strongly encourages both chambers of the Congress to reject this political ploy and instead quickly send the bipartisan Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act to the President's desk," the U.S. Office of Management and Budget said in a statement.

The White House worked with both Democratic and Republican negotiators in the Senate to reach a compromise deal that includes a number of concessions to Republicans on border security.

The bill was broadly criticized by House Republicans, who called for even more draconian measures. House Speaker Mike Johnson has repeatedly said the bill would be "dead on arrival" in the House.

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Johnson revealed on Feb. 3 that the House will hold a vote this week on a standalone $17.6 billion aid package for Israel, excluding the aid for Ukraine. This would complicate efforts by Senate leaders to pass the proposed overall bill quickly.

"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 said in the statement.

Johnson is considered close to former President Donald Trump, who is the Republican Party's most likely candidate for the 2024 presidential election.

Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican critic of the ex-president, explicitly said that Trump was trying to prevent any potential deal in order to keep the issue active in his electoral campaign.

"He's contacted members of Congress telling them that he doesn't want a border deal because he wants to run on this issue," said Romney.

Speaker Johnson says bill on Ukraine aid, border security ‘worse than expected’
The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, said on Feb. 5 that the recently unveiled bipartisan deal on Ukraine aid and border security is “worse than expected.”

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