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US House Passes $14.5 Billion Aid Package with Veto Threat from President Biden

In a recent decision, the US House of Representatives has given its approval to a $14.5 billion military aid package intended for Israel. However, this legislative move faces significant challenges due to opposition from both the Senate’s Democratic leadership and the White House.

The bill, which passed with a 226-196 vote, includes provisions that call for offsetting the emergency aid with substantial cuts from the Internal Revenue Service, a move previously approved by Democrats. This aid package is championed by the new House Speaker, Mike Johnson, who emphasizes its role in supporting Israel’s defense efforts, freeing hostages held by Hamas, and addressing the Palestinian terror threat. Additionally, Johnson underlines his commitment to responsible spending and reducing the federal government’s size.

Despite the House’s approval, President Joe Biden has unequivocally stated his intention to veto the bill. His decision aligns with the White House’s position that any aid legislation must encompass assistance for both Israel and Ukraine.

Notably, 12 Democrats broke ranks with their party to support the bill, citing their strong pro-Israel stance. These lawmakers include Representatives Josh Gottheimer, Jared Moskowitz, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Lois Frankel, Jared Golden, Juan Vargas, Angie Craig, Don Davis, Greg Landsman, Darren Soto, Haley Stevens, and Fredrica Wilson.

Critics argue that this approach will only delay aid for Israel and have characterized the bill as “stunningly unserious.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has expressed doubts about its chances of passing in the Senate.

This legislative effort, the first of its kind in Congress to support Israel during the ongoing conflict, falls significantly short of President Biden’s initial request for nearly $106 billion in aid. Biden’s proposal sought to encompass support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, address security concerns at the US-Mexico border, and counter China’s influence.

This development represents a major test for House Speaker Mike Johnson as the Republican majority seeks to regain momentum after a period of upheaval following the removal of Representative Kevin McCarthy as speaker. Johnson has indicated that his focus will now turn to aid for Ukraine and US border security, with separate consideration of President Biden’s requests due to growing opposition among GOP lawmakers regarding aid to Kyiv.

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