White House to Consider Combining Assistance to Ukraine and Israel into One Package

Tuesday, 10 October 2023

The White House is considering combining funding for Ukraine and Israel into one request to Congress, hoping that this will increase the chances of approval of assistance to Kyiv.

According to The Washington Post, two senior US presidential administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the final decision on combining the requests has not yet been made.

One official said such a move could make sense because it "jams the far right", which strongly opposes increased aid to Ukraine but supports aid to Israel.

Top Joe Biden administration officials have told House and Senate leaders and key committee members that the White House will soon ask Congress to approve additional military aid to Israel after Palestinian militants from Hamas entered the country on 7 October.

According to sources, this request from the White House may come as early as next week.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress expressed full support for Israel and pledged that the United States would support one of its closest allies. This position was made, in particular, by extreme right-wing members of Congress who are against further assistance to Ukraine.

White House officials and some pro-Ukraine congressmen believe linking the two aid requests could prompt some Republicans to vote in favour of the joint package because they would not want to block military aid to Israel.

On Monday, a potential White House plan already ran into obstacles. Asked about the prospect of a joint funding package, Republican Representative Elise Stefanik did not support the idea.

House Republicans have enough votes to pass a separate aid package for Israel, which could put pressure on Senate Democrats to approve it without conditions.

At the same time, the House's ability to approve any foreign aid package remains in doubt until a speaker is elected. 

On 9 October, the Pentagon said that the US Congress should approve additional funding so that the United States can simultaneously provide the necessary military assistance to Israel and Ukraine.

Meanwhile, according to media reports, pro-Ukrainian US senators from both parties want to pass an annual package of assistance for Ukraine as soon as possible, amounting to between US$50 and US$100 billion.

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