In an interview with UK broadcaster Sky News, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that the United States can afford to support conflicts in two different regions. She emphasized that the country is capable of standing with Israel and providing military support, as well as supporting Ukraine in its struggle against Russia. Yellen’s comments came ahead of a meeting with Eurogroup finance ministers in Luxembourg.
Yellen assured that the financial outlook of the United States is sufficient to back its allies abroad. However, she also acknowledged that the potential economic consequences of a larger conflict in the Middle East remain uncertain. The volatile global oil and natural gas market, coupled with the cost-of-living crisis experienced by several Western economies, adds to the complexity of the situation.
As a former chair of the US Federal Reserve, Yellen mentioned that inflation is easing. However, she urged Republicans to expedite the process of appointing a new House Speaker to ensure the flow of financial aid to other nations. The removal of California Republican Kevin McCarthy from the position earlier this month has raised concerns about a possible economic and legislative logjam in Washington.
McCarthy’s removal as Speaker occurred after Florida Representative Matt Gaetz called for a vote to sack him. Gaetz claimed that McCarthy had succumbed to Democratic demands by passing an expansive spending bill. McCarthy was also accused of striking an agreement with US President Joe Biden to continue funding the Ukrainian military.
Yellen emphasized that finding funds for both Israel and Ukraine remains a priority for Biden’s administration. However, she highlighted the importance of the House finding a new speaker to enable the passage of legislation.
These remarks from Yellen follow her recent participation in an IMF/World Bank conference in Morocco. The conference focused on the potential consequences of an intensifying crisis between Israel and Hamas. The United States has already approved over $113 billion in aid to Ukraine, with efforts underway to ramp up defense production to replenish stockpiles and ensure the supply of munitions to Israel.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has warned against shifting international attention away from his country amid the renewed focus on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
In August, a CNN poll reflected growing discontent among Americans regarding additional funding for Ukraine. 55% of respondents called for a withdrawal of spending to support Kiev in its conflict with Moscow.
Overall, Yellen’s statements emphasize the United States’ commitment to supporting its allies abroad but also acknowledge the potential economic challenges that may arise. The appointment of a new House Speaker is seen as crucial to ensuring the continuity of financial aid to other nations.