Biden threatens to veto Israel aid package
US President Joe Biden will refuse to sign a Republican-backed military aid package for Israel if it does not include billions in funding for Ukraine, according to the White House’s budget office.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a statement on Tuesday dissecting the Republican proposal, saying it “inserts partisanship into support for Israel” and fails to devote resources for Kiev in its conflict with Russia.
“Congress has consistently worked in a bipartisan manner to provide security assistance to Israel, and this bill threatens to unnecessarily undermine that longstanding approach,” the office said, adding that “bifurcating Israel security assistance from the other priorities in the national security supplemental will have global consequences.”
Republicans in Congress put forward a $14 billion aid package for Israel on Monday, calling to slash funds set aside for the Internal Revenue Service under Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, and to omit security assistance to Ukraine, among other cuts. Newly appointed GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson has stated he would like to “bifurcate” aid for Israel and Ukraine, going directly against the White House’s plan to link the two issues.
The OMB went on to state that the Republican bill “is bad for Israel, the Middle East region, and for our own national security,” but added that the White House would continue to work with lawmakers to find a compromise.
Though most Republicans vocally support additional aid to Israel amid its operation to eliminate Hamas in Gaza, support for Kiev has become contentious within the party. During recent negotiations to avert a government shutdown, the White House failed to secure billions in aid requested for Ukraine due to GOP opposition. Former House speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted from his position as a result of the controversy, after some rebel Republicans accused him of attempting to appease Democrats on stop-gap spending legislation.
While lawmakers passed a temporary funding bill to avoid a government shutdown earlier this month, they opted to drop Ukraine aid from the measure entirely, delaying the issue for a more complete spending package.
Pushing back on Republican complaints, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has argued that Ukraine would face defeat by Russia without American largesse, insisting Washington must not “pull the rug out from under them now.”
Despite some $50 billion in direct US military aid since February 2022, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky reportedly feels “betrayed” by Kiev’s Western partners as arms shipments have slowed down, his aides recently told Time magazine. “They have left him without the means to win the war, only the means to survive it,” the publication wrote, citing a member of Zelensky’s team.