US State and Defence Secretaries to Try to Persuade Congress to Approve Joint Aid to Ukraine and Israel

Tuesday, 31 October 2023

US State Secretary Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will try to convince US congressmen on Tuesday that it is in the country's interest to approve President Biden's US$106 billion request to support Ukraine, Israel and US border security. Blinken and Austin will testify before the US Senate Committee on Appropriations regarding Biden's request.

As reported by Reuters, arguing that the support of American partners is vital to national security, Biden asked Congress to approve further assistance to Ukraine worth US$61.4 billion.

Biden also asked for US$14.3 billion for Israel, US$9 billion for humanitarian aid – including for Israel and Gaza – US$13.6 billion for US border security, US$4 billion for military assistance, and government funding to counter China's regional efforts in Asia.

The way forward for Biden's funding plan looks uncertain. Democrats and many Republicans in the Democratic-majority Senate support Biden's strategy of combining aid to Ukraine with support for Israel.

But the Republicans who lead the House of Representatives are opposed to combining the two issues. Opinion polls show that public support for aid to Ukraine is decreasing, and many Republicans, especially those who are most supportive of former President Donald Trump, are opposed to it.

On Monday, Republicans introduced a bill to provide US$14.3 billion in aid to Israel separately from Ukraine.

Republican Mike Johnson, the newly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, said last week that he wanted aid to Israel and Ukraine to be considered separately in the House. He said that the aid provided to Kyiv should be considered more attentively.

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