After Iran's attack on Israel, Biden urges Congress to act on long-stalled nat'l security bill

U.S. President Joe Biden urged congressional leaders in a phone call Sunday to act on his national security supplemental bill. Photo by Al Drago/UPI
1 of 3 | U.S. President Joe Biden urged congressional leaders in a phone call Sunday to act on his national security supplemental bill. Photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo

April 14 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Sunday urged congressional leaders to pass his long-stalled national security supplemental bill, as pressure mounts on House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring it to the floor after Iran launched a large-scale attack against Israel.

The White House said in a statement Sunday evening that the president spoke over the phone with Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-ky., House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries D-N.Y., and Johnson, R-La.


"On the call, the president discussed the urgent need for the House of Representatives to pass the national security supplemental as soon as possible," the White House said.

Biden originally called on Congress for emergency funding for Ukraine's defense against Russia along with money for other national security objectives in August, but was stonewalled by Republicans who sought to try to negotiate more funding for the border and stricter immigration policies from the White House.

Following the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7, further defense funding was included to support the U.S. ally.


In February, the Democrat-led Senate passed Biden's $95 billion supplemental aid bill, which Johnson has yet to bring to the floor as fissures in his party over Ukraine funding have deepened.

Far-right Republicans in the House, loyal to Donald Trump, the former president and current GOP presidential candidate, have balked at sending Kyiv more money. Trump has been skeptical of funding Ukraine, and has floated the idea of aiding them with loans.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, one of Trump's most fervent of supporters, has repeatedly threatened to oust Johnson, including if he passes funding for the war-torn U.S. ally.

But the White House and Democrats now appear to be trying to force Johnson to act after Iran launched hundreds of drones and ballistic missiles toward Israel on Saturday and amid fears that the Middle East conflict is expanding.

Schumer confirmed the White House call in a statement on social media, reiterating Biden's words that U.S. commitment for Israel's security "is ironclad."

"We need to help Israel stay strong against Iran," he said.

Addressing Johnson directly, Schumer informed his House counterpart that the best way to do that "is for the House to pass the bipartisan, Senate-passed national security bill."


The New Democrat Coalition of center-left House politicians renewed their calls Sunday for Johnson to bring about a vote on the Senate-approved bill.

"It's now imperative Speaker Johnson immediately allow the House to vote for the bipartisan national security package," the coalition's leadership said in a statement.

"It's long past time that House Republican Leadership live up to their responsibilities, and uphold America's ironclad commitment to defending our allies as they fight to defend themselves against oppressive powers."

Johnson, speaking earlier on Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures, remarked that he would try to bring a package to support Israel to the floor this week, but did not state if it would also include funds for Ukraine.

"The details of that package are being put together now. We're looking at the options and all the supplemental issues," he said.

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