US House passes $14.5 billion to strengthen Israeli defence systemtext_fields
In a move that highlights the growing partisan divide on foreign policy, the United States House of Representatives passed a Republican-backed plan providing $14.5 billion in military aid to Israel.
The plan, which received a 226-196 vote largely along party lines, is the first major legislative action under the new Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson.
Funded by cuts to the Internal Revenue Service, the package includes $4 billion to replenish Israel's critical defence systems, the Iron Dome and David's Sling, as well as military equipment from US stocks.
However, the bill faces significant hurdles on its path to becoming law. President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats have expressed opposition due to concerns over spending cuts and the absence of aid for Ukraine.
The bill's fate now rests with the Senate, where Democrats hold the majority. President Biden, signalling his disapproval, urged Congress to pass a $106 billion emergency spending package that includes funding for Israel, Taiwan, and Ukraine. The White House warned that the Republican-backed bill "would have devastating implications for our safety and alliances in the years ahead."
Despite the longstanding bipartisan support for Israel, divisions within the Republican Party have come to the forefront. While most Republicans continue to support Ukraine, a vocal minority questions the need for continued financial assistance to Kyiv, citing concerns about steep budget deficits.
House Democrat Rosa DeLauro accused Republicans of jeopardizing aid to US allies with their bill, emphasizing the interconnected fortunes of Israel and Ukraine.
The United States has been a staunch supporter of Israel, providing more military assistance than any other country since World War II, totalling over $124 billion. Currently, Israel receives $3.8 billion annually in military aid under a 10-year plan initiated in 2016.