President Biden criticized Republican lawmakers on Tuesday for attempting to thwart bipartisan legislation that would overhaul the nation’s immigration system and, among other things, authorize billions of dollars in aid for Israel.
In a televised speech from the White House, Mr. Biden said that opposing the bill would deny military assistance to Israel and humanitarian aid to Palestinian people, who he emphasized were “really suffering and desperately need help.” In particular, he denounced former President Donald J. Trump, who has been lobbying Republicans to kill the bill in order to deny Mr. Biden a political win, blaming him for helping to create the congressional deadlock.
Mr. Biden also suggested that the political gridlock in Washington stood to hinder progress toward a deal to get Israeli hostages released.
He said there had been “some movement” on negotiations with Hamas to release hostages, who were taken during its brutal Oct. 7 terrorist attack.
“There’s been a response from the opposition,” he said, referring to Hamas, “but it seems to be a little over the top.”
At roughly the same time as Mr. Biden was speaking, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken was holding a joint news conference in Doha, Qatar, with the Qatari prime minister, at which they announced that Hamas had responded to the latest offer of a deal for a pause in the fighting in Gaza and a hostage-prisoner exchange.
Senators from both parties shaped the bill, which links a crackdown on unlawful migration across the U.S. border with Mexico to delivering emergency aid to Ukraine and Israel, but far-right Republicans have condemned the immigration restrictions as too weak. The proposal includes $14.1 billion in security assistance for Israel and $10 billion in humanitarian aid for civilians in conflict zones including Gaza, the West Bank and Ukraine.
In an unusual letter, a group of U.S. ambassadors stationed in the Indo-Pacific region urged congressional leaders on Monday to secure passage of legislation providing assistance to Ukraine, Israel and allies in the Pacific, saying America’s credibility with its strategic partners was on the line.
Mr. Biden said on Tuesday that he was not going to consider supporting separate bills that just addressed military assistance for Israel or Ukraine.
“I’m not going to concede that now,” he said. “We need it all. The rest of the world is looking at us.”
Carl Hulse contributed reporting.