update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

White House: Biden would veto Israel Security Assistance Support Act

"The bill would undermine the president’s ability to execute an effective foreign policy," the Biden administration said.

U.S. President Joe Biden announces plans for lowering housing costs and increasing housing supplies for U.S. home buyers at the Stupak Community Center in Las Vegas, on March 19, 2024. Credit: Adam Schultz/White House.
U.S. President Joe Biden announces plans for lowering housing costs and increasing housing supplies for U.S. home buyers at the Stupak Community Center in Las Vegas, on March 19, 2024. Credit: Adam Schultz/White House.

The Office of Management and Budget, which is part of the White House, stated on Tuesday that U.S. President Joe Biden would veto H.R. 8369, the Israel Security Assistance Support Act, if it came across his desk.

The bill, which is scheduled for a House vote on Wednesday and which has a companion Senate version as of today, condemns the Biden administration’s decision to pause an arms shipment to Israel and would withhold funds from the Pentagon and U.S. State Department unless that and future shipments are approved.

The White House “strongly opposes” the bill, “which seeks to limit the president’s discretion to ensure that the delivery of certain defense articles and services aligns with U.S. foreign policy objectives,” it stated.

“The bill would undermine the president’s ability to execute an effective foreign policy,” the White House added. “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 added that the legislation is “a misguided reaction to a deliberate distortion of the administration’s approach to Israel.”

“The president has been clear: We will always ensure Israel has what it needs to defend itself,” the White House stated. “Our commitment to Israel is ironclad.”

It added that the bill “could lead to spiraling unintended consequences, prohibiting the United States from adjusting our security assistance posture with respect to Israel in any way, including to address unanticipated emergent needs, even if Israel and the United States agree that military needs have changed and supplies should change accordingly.”

In recent days, both Republicans and some Democrats, and major U.S. Jewish organizations have criticized the White House and the president, after the administration withheld a shipment of arms to the Jewish state, and Biden threatened Israel that he would withhold more weapons if it went into Rafah.

The Republican Jewish Coalition called the new White House statement “indefensible.”

“Biden is threatening to veto the congressional bill that would require him to send promised aid to Israel,” wrote Michael Freund, founder and chairman of the Jerusalem nonprofit Shavei Israel. “That ‘ironclad’ commitment of his to Israel’s security continues to gather rust.”

Meghan McCain, a commentator and the daughter of the late Arizona senator and presidential candidate John McCain, shared the White House announcement on social media and quoted former Obama administration defense secretary Robert Gates in 2014: “Biden has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

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