US President Joe Biden is reportedly planning to propose a $100 billion aid bill that includes funding for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, and securing the border with Mexico. The White House believes that bundling the aid together would make it easier for the US Congress to pass the bill. The details of the bill are still being worked out, but it is expected to cover the entire fiscal year, which ends in October 2024.
The previous aid request for Ukraine, which led to the ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, was for $24 billion and only covered three months. While both Democrats and Republicans support sending military aid to Israel, Republicans are less convinced about providing more funds for Ukraine.
In an effort to make the aid package more palatable to some of his party colleagues, Republican chairman Michael McCaul proposed bundling the foreign aid with a border security bill. This would help ensure bipartisan support and increase the chances of the aid bill being passed.
The House of Representatives, however, needs to elect a new speaker before any legislation can proceed. On Tuesday, the election for a new speaker failed, as Ohio Republican Jim Jordan did not have enough votes from his own party to secure the position. This delay further complicates the passage of the aid bill.
Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader of the Senate majority, expects the White House proposal to arrive by the end of the week at the earliest. Schumer emphasized the urgency of passing the supplemental package, stating that the needs in both Israel and Ukraine are great.
Israel has requested $10 billion in “emergency” aid from the US as it engages in a conflict with the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has expressed support for providing aid to both Ukraine and Israel, stating that the US can certainly afford it. Yellen emphasized the importance of economic aid in enabling Ukraine to fight its ongoing war. So far, Washington has committed at least $113 billion in aid to Kiev, including significant military assistance.
A Ukrainian defense ministry official, Gennady Kovalenko, admitted that Ukraine is heavily dependent on the United States for support. US aid is essential for Ukraine’s security and defense capabilities.
The proposal for a $100 billion aid bill reflects the Biden administration’s commitment to supporting its allies and addressing critical security concerns. By bundling the aid, the White House hopes to garner bipartisan support in Congress and ensure that the bill is successfully passed. The timeline for passing the aid bill remains uncertain, as the election for a new House Speaker needs to be resolved first. However, the urgency of providing assistance to Israel and Ukraine underscores the need for swift action.