EXCLUSIVE: The White House is urging Congress to delay its holiday recess to address issues at the southern border, aid for Ukraine and Israel, and more, while slamming Republicans for “actively undermining our national security interests” to “go on vacation.”
Fox News Digital obtained a memo from White House deputy press secretary and senior communications adviser Andrew Bates that accused congressional Republicans of preferring to “go on vacation” rather than work on critical issues.
The House of Representatives finished its votes for the year on Wednesday, and members are expected to return to their districts on Thursday. The Senate is also expected to finish its last day of session on Thursday. Both chambers are set to return on January 9, 2024.
Bates opened the memo by saying that President Biden is working to make American families “safer every day,” while “congressional Republicans are actively undermining our national security interests—both domestically and around the world—because they’d rather go on vacation than do their jobs.”
“Months ago, President Biden released a concrete plan to address critical national security issues—including standing with Israel against the Hamas terrorists that just committed the worst massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust, continuing to help Ukraine defend its freedom and democracy against Russian tyranny, protecting our interests in the Indo-Pacific, and making our border more secure,” Bates wrote. “A wide range of these policies create good-paying jobs in the United States by bolstering our industrial base all over the country.”
But now, Bates says that congressional Republicans “are blocking those national security proposals, all of which will make American families safer—and all of which are infinitely more affordable than the cost of dithering.”
“Why? Because even though Americans elected them to make hard decisions and work full-time, congressional Republicans would rather have a 3-week vacation than buckle down and meet the moment,” Bates said.
Bates said Biden’s national security plan would “hire thousands of new border patrol officers and invest in new technologies that are essential for stopping fentanyl trafficking.”
“But congressional Republicans are choosing their own vacation over joining President Biden in fighting to make our southern border more secure,” Bates said. “Unfortunately, this fits a longstanding pattern: President Biden has delivered record funding for border security, yet House Republicans have voted against it. They even voted to eliminate 2,000 Border Patrol positions while demanding tax cuts for the wealthy.”
A bipartisan group of Senators have been negotiating on a potential deal to address border security, but since no text has been agreed to, many Republicans in the chamber have expressed skepticism that it could be completed before Christmas.
Bates also went on to demand Congress address aid for Israel to replenish the Iron Dome, and provide additional assistance to Ukraine.
Russian President “Vladimir Putin’s government is literally thanking congressional Republicans on Russian state TV for holding up vital defense assistance that Ukraine needs to continue the brave, successful defense of their democracy,” Bates said.
“America’s leadership has been indispensable to Ukraine as they protect themselves from Russian forces, who have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity and regularly launch aerial barrages against Ukrainian cities—including with Iranian drones as Russia and Iran strengthen their military partnership,” Bates said.
“Congressional Republicans like to talk a big game about countering Iran, but apparently Iran gets a pass if Republicans’ vacations are on the line,” he continued. “And if Putin wins in Ukraine, he would be on NATO’s doorstep threatening our NATO allies that the United States is obligated to defend.”
With regard to Ukraine funding, however, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy told Speaker Mike Johnson that Ukraine aid won’t run out until February—despite White House claims.
Bates also said congressional Republicans consider Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities “a secondary priority to going on a three-week vacation.”
When asked for comment, Raj Shah, a spokesman for Speaker Johnson, told Fox News Digital that the White House is making a “pathetic attempt to shift blame for the abject failure of the White House and Senate Democrats to put forth any supplemental measure that can pass out of Congress.”
“The House has passed a bipartisan Israel aid package, a border security measure, and is pressing for accountability over taxpayer aid,” Shah said. “It’s embarrassing for the White House to call on Congress to stay in town considering neither the White House nor Senate have produced anything to stay in town for. Not to mention, President Biden has spent over 400 days on vacation since taking office and has failed to engage in border talks until this week.”
Shah added: “The buck stops at the President’s desk.”