House Democratic leaders urge caucus to oppose GOP’s Israel bill

Top House Democrats plan to oppose GOP legislation compelling the delivery to Israel of defense equipment already approved by Congress — and are actively urging a no vote in their caucus, teeing up a fight over an issue deeply dividing the party.

“This is not a serious legislative effort. It is another partisan stunt by Extreme MAGA Republicans who are determined to hurt President Biden politically,” Whip Katherine Clark’s office said in a notice sent to Hill offices on Tuesday.

The Republican legislation significantly escalates tension with the Biden White House over its planned holdup of certain weapons to Israel while the U.S. ally’s military prepares a push into Rafah. Slated for consideration as soon as Wednesday, the GOP measure will force many Democrats to make a tough choice: Either rebuke their party leader’s approach to Israel or leave themselves open to GOP attacks.

The bill freezes budgets for the offices of the defense secretary, secretary of state and National Security Council if Biden doesn’t deliver the weapons being withheld. The House Rules Committee plans to tee it up for consideration during a Tuesday meeting. The Biden administration has not issued a statement of administration policy on the legislation but has publicly said it would oppose the legislation and could threaten a veto, which might help solidify Democratic opposition.