HomePoliticsThere was strong support for Israel after the attack on Iran, but...

There was strong support for Israel after the attack on Iran, but also partisan bickering

The White House on Sunday defended the president’s handling of the recently escalated conflict in the Middle East, amid pressure from both sides of the aisle for Congress to finally approve additional aid to Israel.

“The president has been a man of his word. We said we were going to help Israel defend itself, and we did that,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said during an interview on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. In multiple TV appearances, Kirby also pushed for Congress to approve additional aid to Israel.

In that regard, he was far from alone: ​​Members of Congress from both parties pushed for approval of additional international aid in the wake of Iranian drone strikes on Israel last Saturday — though Republicans and Democrats didn’t necessarily agree on the details of what the invoice should look like this. Speaking to Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo, House Speaker Mike Johnson said, “We’ve understood the urgency of this from the very beginning,” before criticizing Democrats for passing an earlier Israel-only bill turned down.

The Senate passed a bill in February that would have boosted aid to Israel and also provided aid to Ukraine and Taiwan, but the legislation has been stalled in the House of Representatives, under pressure from some Republican hardliners to halt aid to Ukraine to put. Saturday’s attack on Israel – most of the hundreds of incoming drones and missiles were shot down – has seemingly reset the debate.

“The world is on fire,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries posted on X on Sunday. “We must stand with our Democratic allies and fight back against the enemies of freedom. The House of Representatives must pass the bipartisan national security bill. Tomorrow.”

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“Enough with the stalling, @SpeakerJohnson,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) echoed on X. “The United States must stand with our allies. Bring the bipartisan additional relief bill to a vote. Now.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) criticized the House for “hesitating” on the bill and urged Johnson to bring it to a vote on Monday.

“That will send a strong signal by financing Israel, humanitarian aid, Ukraine and Taiwan, making it clear that the House will take action after months of hesitation,” Coons said during an interview with “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Multiple Republican lawmakers said they expect Johnson to do just that — though the contours of the bill could change.

“I expect, I don’t know, but I expect that the Speaker of the House of Representatives will probably introduce an Israel bill, an Israel aid bill, in the House of Representatives probably next week,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La .). on “Fox News Sunday.”

But Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said he expects the bill to pass while maintaining support for Ukraine.

“Donald Trump has stood on the sidelines and said he doesn’t see aid going to Ukraine unless it’s in the form of a loan. But real quick: Do you expect it to be voted on this week, Congressman?,” NBC’s Kristen Welker asked Turner during an interview on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“I do and I expect it to pass,” Turner said, adding, “Everyone has been on this side of understanding that we are at a critical point. Russia is starting to gain ground. Ukraine is starting to lose the ability to defend itself and the United States must step up and supply Ukraine with the weapons they need. And I think we’ll see overwhelming support for that in the House of Representatives this week.”

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Kirby also urged lawmakers in the House of Representatives to bring the bill to a vote as soon as possible on Sunday, saying Iran’s attack underlines the need for support for U.S. allies in the region.

“They need to put it on the ground as quickly as possible. I mean, we didn’t need reminders about what’s going on in Ukraine. But last night certainly significantly underscored the threat Israel faces in a very, very difficult neighborhood. So there’s a bipartisan Senate bill that all the House has to do is take it up and put it on the floor. And you and I both know the voices are there,” Kirby said on “Meet the Press.”

“We’re just looking for leadership from the speaker’s office: make sure it gets voted on so that not only Israel can get additional resources and defend itself… but that Ukraine can do that too,” Kirby added.

The national security spokesman also rejected calls from Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell President Joe Biden to “match words with actions” when it comes to U.S. support for Israel, saying the president has done more than this in the past six months.

“I have to respectfully disagree with the leader there. Everything the President has done since October 7 has proven his word,” he added.

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McConnell, a staunch supporter of Israel, has previously criticized the Biden administration for trying to “micromanage” Israel’s war in Gaza. In the wake of Iran’s attack on Israel on Saturday, the Kentucky Republican called on the White House to take swift action against Tehran, and allow Israel to “finish the job” against Hamas.

“President Biden has emphasized that America’s commitment to Israel’s security is ‘rock solid’. It is time for his government to match words and actions. President Biden must lead an international effort to impose sufficient costs on Tehran to end its aggression and terror, both on Israeli soil and – as demonstrated by today’s IRGC attack on a commercial shipping vessel – in the entire region,” McConnell said in a statement on Saturday.

“The president must also give Israel the time, space and support it deserves to finish the job against Hamas. Tehran and its allies are heartened when they see divisions between the US and Israel,” the statement continued.

Biden was due to meet with fellow G7 leaders on Sunday to discuss a diplomatic response to Iran, but Kirby said on Sunday afternoon that he “did not expect” specific sanctions to be announced at the meeting.

“The first big step in getting them together is to come out with a joint statement of condemnation for what Iran did last night,” he said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki.”

Kierra Frazier and Matt Berg contributed to this report.

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