Apr 15, 2024 - Politics & Policy

White House "will not accept" standalone Israel aid bill

Karine Jean Pierre, wearing a red dress, and John Kirby, wearing a gray suit, in the White House briefing room.

White House press secretary Karine Jean Pierre and national security spokesman John Kirby. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images.

The White House on Monday announced its opposition to a standalone Israel aid bill without aid to Ukraine.

Why it matters: President Biden's threat to veto House Republicans' standalone Israel aid bill in February was enough to rally Democrats to defeat the measure.

  • House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has said the House will vote on Israel aid this week, but he has not revealed whether it will also take up aid to Ukraine, Taiwan or Gaza.
  • It's unclear whether Iran's missile and drone attacks against Israel over the weekend will change the political calculus for House Democrats.

What they're saying: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a briefing Monday that "we will not accept a standalone" Israel aid bill.

  • "A standalone would actually not help Israel and Ukraine. It would actually delay ... the needed aid," Jean-Pierre added, calling instead for the House to pass the Senate's $95 billion Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan aid bill.
  • Earlier in the briefing, national security spokesman John Kirby said the White House is "opposed to a standalone bill that would just work on Israel, as we've seen proposed."

By the numbers: Any foreign aid bill is likely to come up under a process known as "suspension of the rules," which requires a two-thirds House majority to pass legislation.

  • If most Republicans vote for a standalone Israel aid bill, they would need roughly 80 or more Democrats to vote for it as well.
  • After the White House threatened its veto in February — warning that an Israel-only bill would undermine aid to Ukraine — 46 Democrats voted for the bill and 14 Republicans voted against it.

Between the lines: The threat bolsters pressure from both sides of the aisle in Congress for Johnson to put the Senate bill on the floor.

  • Reps. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) signed a letter with 90 House Democrats calling for an "immediate vote" on the Senate bill.
  • House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said in a scathing letter on Monday morning that Republicans are facing a "Churchill or Chamberlain moment" this week.
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