Stefanik to slam Biden’s weapons hold in remarks before Israel’s government

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) in an address before Israel’s Parliament Sunday is expected to denounce President Biden’s pause on weapons supply to the country, as it continues its military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Her remarks before the Knesset come after the Biden administration cautioned Israel not to invade Rafah, a city in the south of Gaza where at least 600,000 Palestinians are seeking shelter after being evacuated from their homes earlier in the war. Biden urged the Israeli military to first come up with a plan to avoid civilian casualties.

Stefanik, who chairs the House Republican Conference, is set to present the Republican Party as the real backer of Israel, considering the U.S. support for the country’s operation in Gaza has, at times, divided Democrats in Congress.

“I have been clear at home and I will be clear here: There is no excuse for an American president to block aid to Israel — aid that was duly passed by the Congress, or to ease sanctions on Iran, paying a $6 billion ransom to the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, or to dither and hide while our friends fight for their lives,” Stefanik said in prepared remarks, reviewed by The Hill.

“No excuse. Full stop,” she added. “It’s why I have sponsored, or backed, every measure to aid Israel that has come before the U.S. Congress. Every single one.”

The Biden administration faced scrutiny over the pause, which halted the transfer of some 3,500 heavy bombs to Israel as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were gearing up to advance their operation in the south and central part of Gaza. The White House later said it plans to move $1 billion in weapons to the Jewish state.

The New York Republican’s remarks, apart from highlighting her pro-Israel stance, could also elevate her as a contender for former President Trump’s vice-presidential slot. Stefanik has been mentioned as a potential running mate, along with a bevy of senators and governors supportive of the former president.

“It’s why I led the calls for the White House to speak out against the corrupt ICC,” her prepared remarks continue, referencing the International Criminal Court, which is reportedly considering issuing an arrest warrant for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over accusations of war crimes. “It’s why, for years, I have been a leading proponent and partner to President Trump in his historic support for Israeli independence and security.”

Stefanik will be the highest-ranking House member to visit Israel following Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack that killed 1,200 Israelis and resulted in over 250 people being taken hostage. She is scheduled to meet with Israeli officials, visit religious sites and tour the places targeted in the attack that sparked the war.

“We must not let the extremism in ‘elite’ corners conceal the deep, abiding love for Israel among the American people,” she is expected to say. “Most Americans feel a strong connection to your people. They have opened their hearts to you in this dark hour.”

The House approved a bill Thursday that would reverse Biden’s pause, a formal admonishment of his approach to the war. The legislation — which cleared the chamber in a 224-187 vote — is expected to go nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Mychael Schnell contributed reporting.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.