Biden Would Veto GOP Bill Seeking to Unblock Arm Shipments to Israel: White House

Biden Would Veto GOP Bill Seeking to Unblock Arm Shipments to Israel: White House
US President Joe Biden addresses the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies' 30th Annual Gala at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington on May 14, 2024. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House has threatened to veto a House GOP bill seeking to unblock arm transfers to Israel, saying the legislation would undermine President Joe Biden’s ability “to execute an effective foreign policy.”

The “Israel Security Assistance Support Act,” proposed by Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee, would condemn the president’s decision to pause weapon shipments to Israel and compel the delivery of all forms of appropriated aid for Israel.

The White House called the bill “a misguided reaction to a deliberate distortion of the Administration’s approach to Israel,” and said President Biden would veto the bill should it be presented to him.

“This bill could raise serious concerns about infringement on the President’s authorities under Article II of the Constitution, including his duties as Commander-in-Chief and Chief Executive and his power to conduct foreign relations,” the White House said in a May 14 statement.

“We strongly oppose attempts to constrain the President’s ability to deploy U.S. security assistance consistent with U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives,” it added.

The White House said the bill, if enacted, could lead to “spiraling unintended consequences” that would prevent Washington from adjusting its security assistance posture in any way, even if the United States and Israel were in agreement on any changes.

“The President has been clear: we will always ensure Israel has what it needs to defend itself. Our commitment to Israel is ironclad,” it stated.

The White House added that the Biden administration would continue to use all funds appropriated for Israel consistent with legal requirements.

Calls to Unfreeze Weapon Transfer to Israel

Several Republican congressional members have criticized the Biden administration’s decision to pause a shipment of 2,000-pound bombs to Israel. President Biden has also warned that the United States would stop supplying weapons if Israel invades the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

“The Administration is expected to utilize the very aid it requested to equip Israel with what it needs to defend itself, destroy Hamas, and maintain peace in the region.

“Any actions to withhold resources impede our national and global security and send a dangerous signal that the U.S. cannot be counted on as a partner,” the House Appropriations Republicans stated.

A group of 48 Republican senators, led by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), issued a resolution on May 9 condemning the Biden administration’s move to withhold or restrict ammunition to Israel.

“The last thing we want to do is to reward terrorists–who violate international norms by weaponizing hospitals, mosques and schools–by blaming the victim of the terrorist attack, not the terrorists,” Mr. Graham said in a press release.

The Biden administration has warned that a major military operation in Rafah would put millions of Gazan civilians at risk and that the Israeli military has not provided a plan to minimize those risks.“The President was clear that he would not supply certain offensive weapons for such an operation, were it to occur,” the White House’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said during a Monday press briefing.

“And we are still working with Israel on a better way to ensure the defeat of Hamas everywhere in Gaza, including in Rafah,” he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel would fight Hamas alone if necessary without U.S. backing.

“If we have to stand alone, we will stand alone. But we have much more than fingernails,” the Israeli leader said in a video posted to social media platform X on May 10.

Hamas terrorists killed approximately 1,200 people and abducted over 250 hostages during their attack on Israel on October 7, 2023. This triggered an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza, which, according to the Hamas-run health department, has now resulted in over 35,000 deaths. This number includes both combatants and civilians.

Ryan Morgan contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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