Aid Prioritization: McConnell Pressured by GOP Senators

Several Republican senators want to break apart President Joe Biden’s $106 billion foreign aid package to put funding for Israel in the fast lane.

According to The New York Times, the overall package includes $61.4 billion for Ukraine, with about half of that for weapons and ammunition; $14.3 billion for Israel, almost all for weapons and ammunition; $9.15 billion for what’s called humanitarian aid that is supposed to help Palestinian, Israeli and Ukrainian civilians in ways not broken down in the package; and $7.4 billion for costs related to building a strong military presence in the Pacific and helping Taiwan.

The package also includes $13.6 billion for “border security” but money for border wall construction.

“My colleagues and I firmly believe that any aid to Israel should not be used as leverage to send tens of billions of dollars to Ukraine,” Republican Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Marshall is working with Republican Sens. J.D. Vance of Ohio, Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas to split off the aid to Israel, which has said it will launch a ground war to root out and destroy the terrorist group Hamas following the Oct. 7 attacks that left 1,400 people dead in the Jewish state.

Marshall, Vance and Lee have opposed aid to Ukraine; Cruz has supported it.

“Russia still needs to be defeated. Taiwan still needs to be defended,” Cruz said. “This bill is about one thing and one thing only: getting our Israeli allies the aid they need, as fast as possible.”

Congressional passage requires some Republican support in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed. Counting independents who caucus with the Democrats, Democrats have a 51-49 Senate majority, meaning nine Republican votes would be needed to block any filibuster that could stall passage.

Passage is also needed in the House, where Republicans have a slim majority.

The bill drafted by Marshall and his allies comes out to about the same bottom line for Israel as Biden’s proposal but splits it off from the wider package, which in its border security segment includes reimbursements to groups providing shelter for illegal immigrants.

“Proud to spearhead this effort with @RogerMarshallMD to separate Israel aid from Biden’s $104 billion open borders boondoggle. It is a slap in the face to our allies and our voters to combine Israel aid with Ukraine aid and money to “resettle” illegal immigrants,” Vance posted on X.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that Senate Republicans will not rubber-stamp Biden’s aid package, but he also isn’t against a combined approach, according to ABC News.

Saying America faces a “worldwide problem that needs to be dealt with entirely, not in piecemeal,” McConnell said aid to address security issues “needs to be comprehensive.”

“I think it needs to deal with all of these because they are all interrelated,” he said.

But others disagree.

“Americans should be disgusted that President Biden and Washington’s ruling class continue to use crisis after crisis to push massive spending packages for issues that have no business being voted on together,” Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said.

“There is overwhelming bipartisan support for Israel and we can get an aid package passed in the Senate quickly. The same cannot be said about Biden’s asks on Ukraine aid, which is far broader than just lethal aid to defeat Putin,” Scott said, according to ABC News.

Senate Minority Whip John Thune said the logistics of separating the proposals were daunting.

“It’s hard to see how, just from a scheduling standpoint, if you had to move all those bills separately, how you get that done with any kind of speed around here,” the South Dakota Republican said.

Some Republicans said the border security piece, in particular, requires changes.

“That supplemental the Biden administration proposed that is a joke,” Sen. Steve Daines of Montana said.

“It is not about throwing more money at the border, we’ve got to slow the flow, it’s about changing policies. They don’t need a lot more money at the border they’ve got to change the policies to remove the incentives to come across the border,” he said.

Vance said the fuzzy humanitarian aid piece is also a problem for him.

“The problem with just sort of blanket offers of humanitarian aid is that money is fungible,” he said. “And if you free up Hamas to spend resources on killing people, you haven’t actually accomplished much on the humanitarian side.

“You’ve just killed more Israelis.”

via westernjournal

Latest Articles