President Biden said today that he will ask Congress -- half of which is destabilized due to the ousting of the former House speaker -- to approve an emergency security aid package for Israel in the coming days that will help the Defense Department continue to send ammunition and replenish Iron Dome interceptors needed to fend off Hamas rocket attacks.
“The United States stands with Israel,” he said during a White House press conference.
“When Congress returns, we're going to ask them to take urgent action to fund the national security requirements of our critical partners.”
The president did not say how much aid will be sought. Though Biden did not reference it directly, the White House also seeks $24 billion in security, economic and financial aid for Ukraine, which has been blocked by the same Republican infighting that pushed Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) out of the speakership. Houses Republicans, meanwhile, have begun meeting to determine a way forward.
“This is not about party or politics,” Biden said. “It's about the security of our world and the security of the United States of America.”
The president noted that DOD is already doing what it can to “surge” ammunition to Israel and replenish its anti-rocket Iron Dome defense system.
“We're doing it to make sure Israel does not run out of these critical assets,” he said.
On Sunday, a senior defense official told reporters the Pentagon is also "contacting U.S. industry to gain expedited shipment of pending Israeli orders for military equipment that otherwise may have been considered routine for movement.”
Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters that the White House and Pentagon are working with Israeli leaders to determine what additional U.S. military capabilities can be provided but offered no details on the high-level discussions.
“You can expect to see American planes flying into to Israel to deliver military capabilities to support Israel,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sullivan said the first surge of Iron Dome interceptor replenishments is coming from U.S. stocks that were already in Israel.
“We will be flowing in additional Iron Dome interceptors,” he said. “We are also looking at other ways that we can help augment their air defense capabilities.”
The Pentagon, Biden said, has also ordered the Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) carrier strike group to deploy to the eastern region of the Mediterranean Sea.
“We stand ready to move in additional interests as needed,” he said.
The president also said the U.S. government is sharing intelligence with Israel and working to recover U.S. hostages taken by Hamas.
Biden, amid reports that Hamas’ Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel was supported by Iran and could enflame global terrorism, issued a stern warning to any nation, organization or group that might seek to take advantage of the escalating military situation in Gaza.
“I have one word,” he said: “Don’t.”