The US House of Representatives reprimands the Biden administration for interrupting deliveries of heavy bombs to Israel

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday condemning President Joe Biden’s decision to withhold some military aid from Israel due to the ongoing war in Gaza.

224-187 vote approved a bill released over the weekend by a handful of Republicans that, in part, “calls on the Biden administration to allow all previously approved arms transfers to Israel to proceed expeditiously to ensure Israel can defend itself and defeat threats from Iran and its proxies, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Houthis.”

The order states that withheld military aid “shall be delivered to Israel no later than 15 days after” the act’s entry into force and requires the secretaries of defense and state to commit all funding to Israel within 30 days of the act’s entry into force.

The legislation now goes to the Senate, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, is unlikely to bring it to a vote. The White House threatened to veto the bill.

“The president has already said he will veto it, so it doesn’t go anywhere,” Schumer said Wednesday.

On Thursday morning a press conference outside the US Capitol, House Speaker Mike Johnson accused Biden of emboldening Iran and “using his power for political defense.”

“Israel must finish the job, and America must help Israel extinguish the flame of terror ignited by Hamas. Not long ago, President Biden called for the elimination of Hamas. But he doesn’t do that anymore. And now it is clear that Biden and Schumer have turned their backs on Israel. They are carrying water for Iran and its proxies,” said Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana.

House Speaker Tom Cole of Oklahoma; Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert, D-Calif.; State Appropriations and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairman Mario Díaz-Balart, D-Fla.; and Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman David Joyce of Ohio released the report nine-page bill this weekend.

A quiet pause

The legislation was introduced weeks after the Biden administration quietly halted the shipment of heavy bombs to Israel over concerns that the U.S.-supplied weapons could kill more civilians in Gaza.

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, the death toll in Gaza has surpassed 35,000. Biden faces fierce opposition from progressives, including celebrities protests on university campusesdue to Israel’s continued offensive following the October 7 Hamas attack.

According to a May 9 Pentagon update, the previously scheduled single shipment that was halted in behind schedule April included 1,800 2,000-pound bombs and 1,700 500-pound bombs.

Pentagon spokesman Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters on May 9 that the administration “has not made a final decision on how to proceed with this delivery.”

“And as you know, we have given billions of dollars in security assistance to Israel. We have supported their defense efforts, most recently (during) Iran’s unprecedented attack. So there should be no doubt that we will continue to stand with Israel when it comes to its defense,” Ryder said during a news conference.

The United States and allies shot down dozens of drones and missiles fired by Iran toward Israel in mid-April, According to to the Pentagon.

Israel was The biggest According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the total number of recipients of U.S. financial support since World War II.

Some House Democrats, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, have expressed concern about the administration suspending deliveries, although she voted against the bill on Thursday.

“President Biden has been steadfast in his commitment to Israel over the past seven months. His administration must stay the course and avoid the appearance that our support is waning,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement Friday.

“Targeting remaining Hamas fighters while minimizing harm to civilians will require our best combined efforts. I share the President’s concern about Palestinian civilians being used as human shields and understand the risks posed by a full-scale invasion of Rafah. However, we must remember that Hamas wants to sacrifice as many Palestinian lives as possible and wants to maximize civilian losses in this operation as part of its cowardly PR campaign,” she continued.

Numerous media reports cite congressional aides who say the White House is ready to agree to a $1 billion arms transfer to Israel.

Asked by reporters on Thursday about the announced deal, Johnson criticized it as a “window display” intended to provide Biden with “political cover.”

The White House “strongly” opposes the bill

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a news conference Monday that the administration does not support the legislation.

“We strongly, strongly oppose attempts to limit the president’s ability to deploy U.S. security assistance consistent with U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives,” she said.

Jean-Pierre added that the Biden administration plans to “spend every cent allocated, consistent with legal obligations.”

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said during the same news conference that the administration “has paused the delivery of 2,000-pound bombs because we believe they should not be dropped in densely populated cities.”

“We continue to believe it would be a mistake to launch a major military operation in the heart of Rafah that would put vast numbers of civilians at risk without clear strategic benefits,” Sullivan said. “The president has made clear that he will not provide specific offensive weapons for such an operation, should it occur.”

Sullivan said the Biden administration is working with the Israeli government “on a better way to ensure the defeat of Hamas throughout the Gaza Strip, including Rafah.” He also noted that the United States “continues to send military aid” to Israel.

White House released on Tuesday, he issued a statement regarding the administration’s policy, further criticizing the legislation and threatening a veto.

“The bill is a misguided response to the administration’s deliberate distortion of its approach to Israel,” it states. “The president has been clear: We will always ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself.”

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