House GOP chairs lash out at Biden over pause in Israeli arms shipment

The top House Republicans with oversight of U.S. foreign and military affairs slammed the Biden administration Wednesday for pausing a shipment to Israel of an estimated 3,000 heavy bombs.

Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Armed Services Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said the administration was weakening Israel’s position in the face of threats from Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“We are appalled that the administration paused crucial arms shipments to Israel,” the Republican House chairs wrote. “The administration must allow these arms shipments to move forward to uphold the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security and ensure that Israel can defend itself and defeat Hamas.”

The Biden administration confirmed in recent days that it had paused a shipment of thousands of heavy bombs to Israel. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller explained that the administration’s actions relate to concern over Israel’s military operation against Hamas in the southern Gazan city of Rafah and the worsening humanitarian crisis.

“We have paused one shipment of near term assistance and we are reviewing others,” Miller said Wednesday. “In the context of the unfolding situation in Rafah, it is a place where we have very serious concerns, and that’s why we take the actions we take.”

Some Democrats have welcomed the pause in holding back U.S. offensive weapons that they are concerned are contributing to a humanitarian crisis and civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip.

But Republicans and critics of the administration’s move to hold arms transfers throws into question U.S. solidarity with Israel amid intense negotiations to reach a cease-fire deal that would secure the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas since they were kidnapped in its Oct. 7 terrorist attack.

“At a time when Israel continues to negotiate in good faith to secure the release of hostages, including American citizens, the administration’s shortsighted, strategic error calls into question its ‘unshakeable commitment’ as an ally,” McCaul and Rogers wrote.

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