U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., is urging Senate leaders to separate the question of providing additional U.S. military aid to Israel and Ukraine.
In a letter sent Thursday, Braun and eight other Senate Republicans said it’s critical for Congress to promptly support Israel following its recent invasion by Hamas.
But they said any legislation toward that end should not provide additional resources for Ukraine despite its invasion by Russia.
“These are two separate conflicts and it would be wrong to leverage support of aid to Israel in attempt to get additional aid for Ukraine across the finish line,” Braun said.
Democratic President Joe Biden affirmed U.S. support for both Israel and Ukraine in a Oval Office address Thursday night.
He also asked Congress to approve a $100 billion supplemental funding package that includes billions in wartime aid for each country.
Braun suggested in his letter that if the president persists in linking military aid for Israel and Ukraine it could lead to a federal government shutdown when the current, short-term spending authorization expires Nov. 17.
“It would be irresponsible and we should not risk a government shutdown by bundling these priorities together and thus complicating the process and lessening the likelihood of a funding package,” Braun said.
Braun, who opted against a Senate reelection bid next year to run for Indiana governor, has cited the nation’s budget deficit and national debt to justify his repeated votes against aid to Ukraine, and even annual funding for the U.S. military.
In contrast, Braun voted in favor of a Senate resolution Thursday pledging to assist Israel “with emergency resupply or other security, diplomatic and intelligence support needs, both during the immediate crisis and in the near future, including by accelerating delivery of defense articles and systems.”
In any case, no aid package for Israel or Ukraine, or both, can advance through Congress until House Republicans elect a speaker after grinding legislative action to a halt Oct. 3 by ousting former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.