Biden Urges House to Take Up Ukraine, Israel Aid Package ‘Immediately’

House Speaker Johnson said that Congress should prioritize addressing the border crisis.
Biden Urges House to Take Up Ukraine, Israel Aid Package ‘Immediately’
President Joe Biden speaks on the Senate's recent passage of the National Security Supplemental Bill, which provides military aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington on Feb. 13, 2024. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Emel Akan
2/13/2024
Updated:
2/13/2024
0:00

President Joe Biden urged the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday to pass a $95.3 billion national security package approved by the Senate this morning to send aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

“I urge Speaker [Mike] Johnson to bring it to the floor immediately,” President Biden said.

“There’s no question that if the Senate bill was put on the floor in the House of Representatives, it would pass,” the president added. “The speaker knows that. So, I call on the speaker to let the full House speak its mind and not allow minority or most extreme voices in the House to block this bill even from being voted on.”

Early Tuesday morning, the Senate passed a $95.3 billion national security package that includes $60 billion in aid to Ukraine. The measure also provides $14.1 billion in security assistance to Israel in its war against Hamas, $9.2 billion in humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza, and $4.8 billion for Taiwan and key partners in the Indo-Pacific to counter China’s communist regime.

“History is watching,” President Biden said three times. “Failures for Ukraine at this critical moment will never be forgotten.”

The Senate passed the bill in a 70–29 vote, with 22 Republicans voting in favor, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Mr. McConnell applauded the bill’s passage, saying in a statement that it will “rebuild and modernize our military, restore our credibility, and give the current Commander-in-Chief, as well as the next, more tools to secure our interests.”

“History settles every account. And today, on the value of American leadership and strength, history will record that the Senate did not blink,” he added.

President Biden defended the aid to Ukraine, stating that “While this bill sends military equipment to Ukraine, it spends the money right here in the United States of America in places like Arizona, where the Patriot missiles are built, Alabama, where the Javelin missiles are built, and Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas, where artillery shells are made.”

“We supply Ukraine from our stockpiles, and then we spend our money replenishing those stockpiles,” he explained.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also praised the passage of the Senate bill.

“I am grateful to every US Senator who made a morally strong choice today,” Mr. Zelenskyy stated on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

“Putin’s ambitions have never been limited to Ukraine. His goals are far broader,” he argued. “The next step is a vote in the US House of Representatives. We anticipate an equally strong moral choice and a decision that will work for the benefit of our shared security.”

The bill’s fate in the House remains uncertain, as House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said that Congress should prioritize addressing the border crisis over Ukraine.

“House Republicans were crystal clear from the very beginning of discussions that any so-called national security supplemental legislation must recognize that national security begins at our own border,” he said in a statement on Monday before the Senate passed the bill.

“Now, in the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters. America deserves better than the Senate’s status quo,” Mr. Johnson added.

The Biden administration is grappling with a historic crisis at the southern border with a record-breaking flood of illegal immigrants. Many have pointed fingers at the Biden administration for the growing humanitarian crisis at the border and in big cities around the country.

Polling suggests that American voters trust former President Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner in November’s election, more than President Biden on immigration and border issues.

Biden Condemns Trump’s NATO Comments

During his speech, President Biden criticized his predecessor for his recent remarks about the NATO alliance.

“For God’s sake, it’s dumb. It’s shameful. It’s dangerous. It’s un-American,” President Biden said. “When we make a commitment, we keep it, and NATO is a sacred commitment.”

Speaking at a rally in South Carolina on Sunday, former President Trump recalled how, as president, he warned a NATO ally for not paying its fair share for the defense alliance.

“One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’ I said, ‘You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent?’” President Trump recounted saying.

“He said, ‘Yes, let’s say that happened.’ No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills,” President Trump said.

Emel Akan is a senior White House correspondent for The Epoch Times, where she covers the Biden administration. Prior to this role, she covered the economic policies of the Trump administration. Previously, she worked in the financial sector as an investment banker at JPMorgan. She graduated with a master’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University.
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