Nine Republican senators are calling for any supplemental US aid to Israel and Ukraine to be packaged separately as the White House is reportedly expected to unveil a sweeping $100 billion foreign funding request.
The GOP lawmakers made the demand in a letter to Senate leadership, arguing that fusing legislation for a joint aid package for the two conflicts could create political complications and scuttle support that war-torn Israel needs.
“Israel is one of America’s greatest allies across the globe and we must stand firm with them in the wake of Hamas’ October 7 massacre that left more than 1,400 Israelis and 30 Americans brutally murdered,” Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), who helped draft the letter, told The Post.
“As we look for ways to help our friends, we anticipate there will soon be funding proposals for aid to Israel. My colleagues and I firmly believe that any aid to Israel should not be used as leverage to send tens of billions more dollars to Ukraine. These are two separate conflicts at different stages and cannot be considered as a ‘package deal.’”
The letter, also signed by Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), JD Vance (R-Oh.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Mike Lee (R-Ut.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said: “We urge you to keep separate attempts to provide military aid to Israel from additional funds to Ukraine or other matters.”
It was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), both of whom indicated that they are expecting the package this week.
At the moment, the forthcoming package is expected to entail $60 billion for Ukraine, and $40 billion for Israel, Taiwan, and the US border with Mexico, NBC News reported.
Back in August, President Biden asked Congress for $24 billion to support Ukraine, including $13 billion for security and $7.3 billion for humanitarian and economic assistance.
Congress declined to pass that package and instead barely averted a government shutdown at the end of September before falling prey to a mutiny against former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
Currently, the House of Representatives is in paralysis without a speaker, while the Senate is looking to lead on the funding package.
“The House is sort of the mess,” Schumer vented to reporters Tuesday. “And therefore, we think the best thing to do is pass a strong, big supplemental with strong bipartisan support and that may force the House to act.”
So far, Congress has authorized about $113 billion to Ukraine in both humanitarian and military aid, though not all of that money has been spent.
But Biden administration officials are warning that funds are running low.
Republicans have grown increasingly wary about additional aid to Ukraine, but are largely unified in wanting to support Israel as it battles Hamas, which launched an Oct. 7 surprise attack.
“We note that 22 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to the then-leading candidates to be the next Speaker of the House urging them to deny attempts to couple these issues,” the nine Republican senators went on in the letter.
Given Republican misgivings about Ukraine aid, the White House appears to be banking on the possibility that merging the funding will increase its likelihood of passing in Congress.
Biden has downplayed the difficulty of tending to both conflicts.
“We’re the United States of America for God’s sake, the most powerful nation in the history — not in the world — in the history of the world,” Biden said in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday.
“We have the capacity to do this and we have an obligation to. We are the essential nation,” Biden continued. “And if we don’t, who does?”
Should the measure clear the Senate, it will face an uncertain future in the House, which is currently unable to consider major legislation.
Congress is also grappling with a looming Nov. 17 deadline to avert a government shutdown.