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White House opposes potential stand-alone Israel aid bill

 A section of Israeli troops during ground operation in Gaza. [Xinhua]

The White House said Monday it opposes a stand-alone bill that would provide aid only to Israel, urging House Republicans to pass the Senate-passed legislation that includes assistance for Israel, Ukraine and others.

"We are opposed to a stand-alone bill that would just work on Israel, as we've seen proposed. We would oppose a stand-alone bill, yes," National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at the White House's first briefing after Israel became the target of a large-scale retaliatory attack by Iran over the weekend.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, who has been blocking the Joe Biden administration's supplemental budget request earlier approved by the Senate, said Sunday that he will try to take up a certain sort of Israel aid bill on the House floor this week. He didn't say whether the measure would also include aid to Ukraine, which Democrats are also pushing for.

In February, the House voted on a stand-alone bill providing 17.6 billion U.S. dollars in aid for Israel. The bill failed to pass with a tally of 250-180, short of the two-thirds majority needed.

"We're going to try again this week, and the details of that package are being put together. Right now, we're looking at the options and all these supplemental issues," Johnson said Sunday on Fox News.

Kirby, for his part, doubled down on pressuring House GOP members to approve the supplemental budget request, saying time is of the essence right now.

"Time is not on anyone's side here in either case," he said at the briefing in reference to Israel and Ukraine. "So they need to move quickly on this. And the best way to get that aid into the hands of the Israel Defense Forces and into the hands of the Ukrainian soldiers is to pass that bipartisan bill that the Senate passed."

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