White House National Security Adviser pleads with House Republicans to move on aid bill

Republican US House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson indicated again on Wednesday he has no immediate plans to allow the chamber to vote on a $95 billion package of international security assistance for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

“We’re not going to be forced into action by the Senate,” Johnson said at House leaders’ weekly news conference.

He reiterated his insistence that any package of international military and humanitarian assistance must also include measures to address security at the US border with Mexico.

The cost of inaction on the defense supplemental bill is raising the stakes for national security, Jake Sullivan, National Security Adviser, said Wednesday in a rare appearance during a press conference from the White House. Sullivan implored the House of Representatives to take up the bill. 

“Yesterday, the Senate took important action to advance America’s core national security interests by overwhelmingly passing the national security supplemental agreement,” Sullivan said. 

Newly elected Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) addresses the U.S. House of Representatives after he was elected to be the new Speaker at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., October 25, 2023. (credit: REUTERS/ELIZABETH FRANTZ/FILE PHOTO)

Sullivan said the bill will provide Israel with what it needs to defend itself against Hamas terrorists and other terror threats. The bill will help replenish Israel’s air defenses so they’re prepared against threats they face from Iran, and Iranian-backed militia groups like Hezbollah, Sullivan said. 

The bill will provide resources for US troops in the Middle East who have faced attacks from Iran-backed militias as they continue the important mission of defeating ISIS, Sullivan said, as well as US forces who are protecting international commerce in the Red Sea from persistent attacks by the Houthis

The aid bill would include humanitarian aid as well as military equipment

The bill will also provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to people who are impacted by conflicts around the world including Ukrainians and innocent Palestinians living in Gaza. 

Sullivan also dispelled a Republican-backed notion of international aid being provided to countries as a loan. 

“[Aid has] been something we provide to people in desperate need and conflict situations,” Sullivan said. “The loan concept just has never applied and makes no sense.” 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) cited this belief as a reason for voting against the supplemental bill in the Senate. Graham, a staunch supporter of Israel, met with Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana during his US visit last week. It’s uncertain if Graham discussed US loaning aid funding to Israel with Ohana. The Post has reached out to Graham’s office. 

“President Biden is determined to get this done on a bipartisan basis through the House of Representatives to get this aid out the door so that we are helping our friends and partners, and we are helping ourselves,” Sullivan said. 

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