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White House calls on House GOP to move forward with foreign aid bills

President Biden and the White House had pointed criticism for House Republicans' approach to national security bills.
White House calls on House GOP to move forward with foreign aid bills
Posted at 3:00 AM, Feb 14, 2024

The White House is urging lawmakers to act on aid for Ukraine and Israel, accusing House Republicans of playing politics with national security.

In remarks Tuesday, President Biden urged Speaker Mike Johnson to bring the bill to the House floor.

"Let the full House speak its mind and not allow a minority of the most extreme voices in the House to block this bill even from being voted on,” President Biden said.

But Johnson has not indicated a path forward in the House.

“National security begins with our own border,” Johnson said the same day.

Now White House officials are accusing the speaker of having a "confusing" message: House Republicans did not support the negotiated border proposals after demanding that border measures be included.

"Now the Speaker says he won’t stand with Ukraine against Putin and Tehran because the legislation doesn’t include the very kind of border deal he killed," White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement. "In both cases, congressional Republicans cite Trump as their motivation. The only common denominator in Speaker Johnson’s dizzying border security tailspin is politics. Speaker Johnson is damaging America’s national security, opposing bipartisan breakthrough after bipartisan breakthrough, in the name of politics. And the American people see through it." 

SEE MORE: US aid package for Israel fails in the House

The Senate passed a bipartisan national security supplemental bill this week that included money for Ukraine, Israel, Gaza and Indo-Pacific priorities, but dropped border policy updates. It follows a failed version that included a border deal. Republicans did not support the border deal that was reached after months of negotiations between Senate Republicans and Democrats, viewing the measures as insufficient.

“It should have gone back to the drawing board to amend the current bill to include real border security provisions that would actually help end the ongoing catastrophe. Instead, the Senate’s foreign aid bill is silent on the most pressing issue facing our country,” Johnson said in a statement.

House Democrats indicated they’d use all available options when asked if they’d pursue a discharge petition, a way to work around leadership that would require Republican support.

“All options are on the table. We're going to utilize every available legislative tool. And what is clear is that there are more than 300 bipartisan votes in the House of Representatives to pass the national security bill today,” said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

President Biden’s appeal to lawmakers Tuesday comes after former President Donald Trump made his own comments about American commitments to NATO military support.

“The stakes were already high for American security before this bill was passed in the Senate last night. But in recent days, those stakes have risen. And that’s because the former President has set a dangerous and shockingly, frankly, un-American signal to the world,” President Biden said of Trump's comments.

At a campaign event in South Carolina, Trump said that while he was president, he had told another world leader he would “encourage [Russia] to do whatever the hell they want” if a country did not pay its NATO obligation.

SEE MORE: NATO chief says Trump's comments undermine security of all NATO allies

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