White House Warns That Biden Would Veto GOP’s Israel Aid Bill

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(Bloomberg) -- The White House said President Joe Biden would veto a bill proposed by House Republicans to provide assistance for Israel that would be paid for by slashing funds for the Internal Revenue Service.

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The Office of Management and Budget, in a lengthy statement on Tuesday night, said the measure “fails to meet the urgency of the moment by deepening our divides and severely eroding historic bipartisan support for Israel’s security.”

The legislation, championed by the new House speaker, Mike Johnson, has already run into stiff bipartisan opposition from the US Senate, creating a standoff as he tries to reunite the Republicans who form his chamber’s narrow majority.

The OMB added in its statement that requiring so-called budget offsets for emergency security assistance “sets a new and dangerous precedent by conditioning assistance for Israel, further politicizing our support and treating one ally differently from others. This bill is bad for Israel, for the Middle East region, and for our own national security.”

The House plans to vote Thursday on Johnson’s $14 billion Israel aid package. He said the public believes “standing with Israel and protecting the innocent over there is in our national interest and it’s a more immediate need than IRS agents.”

Democrats, however, say the maneuver would ultimately cost the government due to lost revenue.

“The House GOP bill is woefully inadequate and has the hard right’s fingerprints all over it,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “It makes aid for Israel, who has just faced the worst terrorist attack in its history, contingent on poison pills that reward rich tax cheats.”

Johnson’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the White House statement.

Earlier: Speaker Johnson Hits Early Hurdle in Standalone Israel Aid Bill

Senate Republican leaders support a package more in line with Democratic proposals to fund Biden’s $106 billion emergency request, which also would provide assistance to Ukraine, Taiwan and money to bolster the US southern border. Senators writing the bill could unveil it next week.

Johnson, however, wants to separate any aid for Ukraine, which is opposed by several House conservatives.

Taking note of this, OMB said in the statement that “failing to support Ukraine at this pivotal moment in the war would send a terrible message to Russia about our resolve, let alone to the rest of the world.”

--With assistance from Steven T. Dennis, Erik Wasson and Billy House.

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