House Passes Bill Forcing Swift US Weapons Shipment to Israel

The House approved legislation Thursday mandating President Biden to quickly send U.S. weapons to Israel amid its conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, despite a pause on at least one shipment and a looming veto threat from the president.

The House voted 224-187 to pass the Israel Security Assistance Support Act, with 208 Republicans and 16 Democrats in support. Three Republicans joined 184 Democrats in opposing the bill.

Introduced by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) on Tuesday, the bill also seeks to defund Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the National Security Council until the shipments are delivered.

The White House announced Tuesday that Biden would veto the bill, stating it would prevent the president from executing “effective foreign policy” and was based on a “distortion” of the pause, which some Republicans had labeled an “arms embargo.”

“It is clear that Biden and [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer have turned their back on Israel,” House Speaker Mike Johnson said in a Thursday morning press conference. “They are carrying water for Iran and its proxies.”

“Israel needs to finish the job,” Johnson (R-La.) added. “And America needs to help Israel extinguish the flame of terror that is wrought by Hamas.”

A majority of House Democrats opposed the legislation after being urged against it by their leadership, who dismissed the bill as a partisan stunt.

Republicans and Democrats alike expressed alarm on May 8 after the Biden administration paused the delivery of 2,000-pound bombs to Israel. The president revealed in a CNN interview that he would not supply the weapons if the Israeli military assaulted Rafah, considered the last stronghold of Hamas in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the administration’s threat, and his defense minister Yoav Gallant said Thursday the Jewish state’s military would press on with the operation to destroy Hamas’ underground terror tunnels.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House Monday that Israel had paused the bomb shipment “because we do not believe they should be dropped in densely populated cities” like Rafah, where an estimated 1 million civilians are believed to remain despite Israeli urgings to leave.

“We are continuing to send military assistance, and we will ensure that Israel receives the full amount provided in the supplemental,” Sullivan added.

Rep. Cory Mills (R-Fla.) introduced articles of impeachment against Biden on Monday, calling the shipment pause an illegal “abuse of power” by “soliciting a ‘quid pro quo’ with Israel while leveraging vital military aid for policy changes.”

More than two dozen Democrats also opposed the Biden administration for withholding the weapons after approving more than $26 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Israel as part of an April foreign aid package.

“[W]ithholding weapons shipments to Israel,” the Democrats led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey wrote to Sullivan last week, “only emboldens our mutual enemies, including Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and other Iranian-backed proxies.”

The Biden administration is planning to deliver more than $1 billion in other weapons to Israel during the pause, including $700 million worth of tank ammunition, $500 million in tactical vehicles, and $60 million in mortar rounds, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Simcha D. Rothman, a member of Israel’s parliament, told The Post that Biden’s pause was “breaking his promise” to give “ironclad” support to Israel in its war against Hamas.

“A few weeks ago, even as Israel made it clear that it must go into Rafah to destroy Hamas, Congress voted with [an] overwhelming bipartisan majority to provide emergency military assistance,” the Knesset member said.

Rothman added that it also sent “the wrong message” to Israel and America’s enemies, from “the streets of Iran” to “Ivy League campuses.”

“They are chanting ‘Death to America, Death to Israel,’” he said.

During Thursday’s vote, Fox News reported, a group of Democratic aides opposing U.S. military aid for Israel paraded outside the Capitol, holding a sign that read: “Your staff demands you save Rafah.”