Biden issues veto threat over ‘misguided’ GOP bill on weapons to Israel

The White House said Tuesday that President Biden would veto a House GOP bill intended to pressure him to send weapons to Israel, calling it a “misguided reaction to a deliberate distortion of the Administration’s approach to Israel.”

The pushback comes ahead of an expected vote this week on the Israel Security Assistance Support Act. GOP lawmakers introduced the bill after Biden warned he would withhold certain offensive weapons for Israel if its forces invaded Rafah in Gaza.

But the White House cautioned that the legislation “would undermine the President’s ability to execute an effective foreign policy.”

“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 said in a statement of administration policy.

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

The U.S. already paused a shipment of bombs to Israel earlier this month over concerns of a looming full-scale invasion of Rafah. Officials said the large bombs were withheld because of the damage they could cause in high-density areas.

Biden warned in a CNN interview last week that he would stop supplying Israel with offensive weapons such as bombs and artillery shells if Israeli forces launched an invasion of Rafah, where about a million refugees have settled after fleeing the fighting in northern Gaza. He said the U.S. would continue to supply defensive materials, such as missiles for the Iron Dome, regardless of Israel’s actions.

The House bill urges the “expeditious delivery” of defense articles and services to Israel, condemns the Biden administration’s decision to pause shipments to Israel and reaffirms Israel’s right to self-defense.

It also calls for funds for the secretaries of Defense and State and the National Security Council to be withheld until defense articles are delivered to Israel.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that the administration “strongly” opposed the bill, and that the White House planned “to spend every last cent appropriated consistent with legal obligations, including in the recent … national security supplemental that was just passed.”

In late April, Biden signed a national security package that included $61 billion in aid for Ukraine in its war against Russia and $15 billion in military aid for Israel, which has been fighting Hamas after the group killed more than 1,100 Israelis in attacks last October.

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