The House of Representatives has approved an approximately $14.5 billion military aid package for Israel in response to the conflict with Hamas. This decision reflects the new president of the House, Republican Mike Johnson, taking a partisan approach that directly challenges the Democrats and President Joseph Biden.
In a departure from the norm, Johnson's package calls for emergency aid to Israel but with corresponding cuts in government spending in other areas. President Biden has expressed his intent to veto the bill. Johnson argues that the Republican package aims to provide Israel with the necessary support to defend itself, free hostages held by Hamas, and eliminate the militant Palestinian group while also ensuring responsible spending by the U.S.
However, Democrats assert that this approach will only delay aid to Israel. Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, has warned that the bill is "stunningly frivolous" and stands no chance in the Senate. This marks the first significant legislative effort in Congress to support Israel during the conflict but falls far short of Biden's full request for nearly $106 billion to support Ukraine's fight against Russia and address U.S.
efforts to counter China and enhance security along the U.S.-Mexico border. Johnson also indicated that aid to Ukraine would be coupled with U.S. border security measures, preferring to consider Biden's requests separately, as Republican lawmakers are increasingly opposed to assisting Kiev.
The White House has issued a veto warning, asserting that Johnson's approach "does not meet the urgency of the moment" and would set a dangerous precedent by requiring emergency funding to be offset by cuts elsewhere. While the funding amount for Israel in the House of Representatives is similar to what Biden sought, the White House has criticized the Republican plan for not including humanitarian aid for Gaza as the crisis deepens.
In the Democratic-controlled Senate, the Republican bill is expected to be defeated. Furthermore, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a non-binding Republican resolution condemning activism at universities related to the Israel-Hamas conflict, as well as support for Hamas, Hezbollah, and other organizations involved in terrorism at institutions of higher learning."