Republicans Draw Plan to Force Aid to Israel

The House of Representatives is expected to pass a bill that would prohibit President Joe Biden from withholding military aid from Israel.

The Israel Security Assistance Support Act, introduced by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), calls for aid to Israel to be resumed within 15 days of enactment.

If aid is not resumed, Congress will withhold funding for the National Security Council and the offices of the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State.

The White House condemned the bill, saying it would “undermine the President’s ability to execute an effective foreign policy.”

“We strongly oppose attempts to constrain the President’s ability to deploy U.S. security assistance consistent with U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives,” the statement added.

“This bill, if enacted, 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.

Some Democrats, like Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY), support the House bill.

“I have a general rule of supporting pro-Israel legislation unless it includes a poison pill—like cuts to domestic policy,” he told Axios.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK) filed similar legislation for the U.S. Senate.

“President Biden’s decision to impose a de facto arms embargo on Israel is a betrayal of one of our most important allies as it fights an existential war for survival,” Cotton said. “This bill will reverse Joe Biden’s arms embargo and withhold the salaries of officials who implement it.”

In a statement on X, Cotton wrote, “Joe Biden has sanctioned Israelis and placed an arms embargo on Israel while giving sanctions relief to Iran with no arms embargo for Iran,” noting that the bill will ensure that “Israeli allies continue to receive the support that they need to defeat Hamas, while making clear that any official who supports this embargo will be doing so without a paycheck.”