The White House on Tuesday slammed a standalone Israel funding bill proposed by House Republicans as “bad for Israel” and US national security, asserting that President Biden would veto the legislation.
“This bill is bad for Israel, for the Middle East region, and for our own national security,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a scathing statement of administration policy on the so-called Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2024.
The $14.3 billion bill would decouple aid for Israel from the 80-year-old president’s broader emergency funding request that includes billions for Ukraine.
The spending measure would also strip humanitarian aid for Palestinian civilians from Biden’s $106 billion request and would be paid for in part by cuts to Internal Revenue Service funding allocated under the president’s so-called Inflation Reduction Act.
“Rather than putting forward a package that strengthens American national security in a bipartisan way, the bill fails to meet the urgency of the moment by deepening our divides and severely eroding historic bipartisan support of Israel’s security,” the OMB memo states. “It inserts partisanship into support for Israel, making our ally a pawn in our politics, at a moment we must stand together.”
The budget office argues that the $9 billion in Biden’s request geared toward humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza is a “moral imperative” and denying it would be a “grave mistake.”
“Humanitarian aid is critically needed to alleviate the suffering of civilians in Gaza, but it is also crucial support for innocent Ukrainians facing the brutality of Putin’s war,” the statement reads, arguing that “conflict and extremism will be much more likely to spread” without humanitarian aid, which “will only benefit Hamas and other malign actors.”
The OMB was also critical of the proposed IRS cuts House Republicans hope to tie to funding for the Jewish state’s Iron Dome missile defense system and military equipment for the Israel Defense Forces.
“The egregiousness of this particular offset is it adds to the deficit and would help some wealthy individuals and large corporations cheat on their taxes,” the memo states.
Biden’s sweeping $106 billion proposal, unveiled earlier this month, seeks $61.4 billion for Ukraine, $14.3 billion for Israel, $14 billion for immigration enforcement and $16.55 billion for other concerns, including further aid for Taiwan.
Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has publicly called for the Ukraine and Israel components to be “bifurcated” as he grapples with a GOP conference skeptical of further support for Kyiv.
Johnson argues that aid to Ukraine needs more robust oversight before it can be approved by Congress.
OMB added that the Biden administration will “continue to engage with both chambers of the Congress in a bipartisan manner to secure an agreement on the critical national security package transmitted to Congress a few weeks ago.”
“If the President were presented with this bill, he would veto it,” the memo concludes.