The White House is going on the offensive with a new talking point to convince House members they need to pass the national security supplemental: failing to greenlight the bill means helping Iran.
According to a talking points memo and messaging memo obtained by POLITICO, the administration is arguing that Iran has sided with Russia in its war on Ukraine and has long supported Hamas. To not pass the legislation that gives aid to both Ukraine and Israel, then, would be to make life easier for Tehran.
“A House vote against American national security is a vote to appease and empower the Iranian regime. Period,” reads the document drafted by deputy press secretary and senior communications adviser Andrew Bates. “Iran is integral to Putin’s war effort in Ukraine, providing him with weapons and financial support. Right now, Russians are killing Ukrainian civilians with Iranian drones. Iran is even considering supplying Russia with short-range ballistic missiles.”
Ukrainian intelligence indicates Hezbollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members are training Russian drone operators. The White House had previously revealed that Iran was in talks to send ballistic missiles to Russia.
The document also covers well-trodden political arguments by the Biden administration, namely that Republicans who oppose funding for Ukraine are siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Biden administration’s memo, which will be distributed to lawmakers, pundits and reporters, is targeted to shame House Republicans into supporting the aid package. In a not-so-thinly veiled attack on former President Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner in the presidential election, Bates mentions “unhinged, irresponsible voices on the right are even encouraging Russia to attack our closest allies and agitating to unravel NATO.”
The document is a clear indication the White House realizes it has more convincing to do. Despite general support for the measure in the House, passage of the supplemental is not guaranteed, so the administration will push its arguments within the halls of Congress and on the airwaves.
The Senate early Tuesday morning passed the $95 billion aid package providing Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan with military aid to fend off rivals. The legislation now moves to the House where Speaker Mike Johnson warns he may not bring the measure up for a vote because it lacks funding for border security, failing to mention that Senate Republicans refused to support a bipartisan deal to boost defenses at the U.S.-Mexico front.
House members from both parties have long said there’s support to pass the Senate-approved supplemental. It just needs to reach the floor.
“I believe that there are 300 votes for Ukraine. There are 400 votes for Israel,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), a former House Democratic leader, told POLITICO last week.