US House approves $14.5bn military assistance package for Israel amidst Israel-Palestine conflict developments

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The prospects of a Republican bill becoming law appear slim due to President Joe Biden’s opposition to attached spending cuts. The United States House of Representatives recently passed a Republican plan that provides $14.5bn in military aid for Israel, which has caused a partisan clash on the usually bipartisan issue of supporting the staunch US ally. The plan, funded by cuts to the Internal Revenue Service, was passed by a vote of 226 to 196, largely along party lines. This is the first major legislative action under new Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, who assumed his role last week following Kevin McCarthy’s removal by the hard-right faction of his party.

The bill includes $4bn to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems, as well as military equipment transferred from US stocks. Speaker Johnson has urged the Senate and White House to swiftly approve the bill. However, the bill faces obstacles in becoming law as President Biden and his fellow Democrats in the Senate have signaled their opposition due to the inclusion of spending cuts and the lack of aid for Ukraine. For the bill to become law, it would need to pass the Senate, where Democrats hold a majority and receive President Biden’s signature.

Before the vote, the White House expressed concern that the bill “would have devastating implications for our safety and alliances in the years ahead.” Instead, President Biden has called on Congress to pass a $106bn emergency spending package that includes funding for Israel, Taiwan, and Ukraine. While most Republicans still strongly support Ukraine, a vocal minority within the party questions the need for continued financial assistance to Kyiv given the current budget deficits. House Democrat Rosa DeLauro accused Republicans of delaying aid to US allies through their bill, emphasizing the interconnectedness of the fortunes of both Israel and Ukraine.

The United States has provided Israel with more military assistance than any other country since World War II, with aid exceeding $124bn. Under a 10-year plan that began in 2016, the US already provides Israel with $3.8bn per year in military assistance.

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