President Joe Biden will veto a standalone aid package for Israel backed by Republicans and set to be voted on by House lawmakers this week, the White House has announced.
In a Jan. 5 statement, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) branded the funding measure that has garnered wide support from GOP lawmakers just “another cynical political maneuver” aimed at weakening the bipartisan Senate national security package.
That latter funding package—the result of months of behind-the-scenes negotiations between Senate Republicans and Democrats—is now facing mounting resistance from both Senate and House Republicans amid concerns over its border security provisions and funding to Ukraine.
“Instead of working in good faith to address the most pressing national security challenges, this bill is another cynical political maneuver,” it continued. “The security of Israel should be sacred, not a political game,” the statement continued.
President Biden’s administration stated that it “strongly opposes this ploy” which it said fails to secure the U.S. border amid the ongoing immigration crisis or adequately aid Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing invasion.
‘Reject This Political Ploy’The White House concluded the statement by calling for both chambers to “reject this political ploy” and vote on the Senate national security bill instead.
The measure also includes roughly $20 billion aimed at strengthening security along the U.S.-Mexico border.
However, the measure is facing stiff opposition from Republicans over key provisions, including one that grants the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) power to close down the border if the daily average of illegal immigrant encounters reaches 4,000 in one week.
If this threshold is reached, then the DHS secretary could shut down the border by denying illegal immigrants the ability to apply for asylum. If, however, average encounters reach 5,000 a day over a given week, then the DHS secretary would be required to shut down the border to enable officials to process all of the illegal immigrants.
Biden’s Veto Threat ‘An Act of Betrayal’It also does not include a restoration of former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which remains a sticking point among many GOP lawmakers.
The deal also faces opposition from progressive Democrats who argue it does nothing to provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for many years, including “Dreamer” illegal immigrants who were brought in as children.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has repeatedly indicated he would reject the bipartisan Senate bill, and instead vote this week on the Republican-backed measure providing aid only to Israel.
“In threatening to veto aid to Israel and to our military forces, President Biden is abandoning our ally in its time of greatest need. I urge friends of Israel and opponents of Iran to call the president’s bluff and pass this clean aid package,” the House Speaker concluded.
Other Republicans were also quick to criticize President Biden on Monday after he threatened to veto the bill, with one branding his actions “galactically dumb.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) told the publication that President Biden’s domestic policy is “appeasing the radical left” while his foreign policy is “appeasing Iran.”
“Supporting Israel goes against both,” the lawmaker said.