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Republicans divided over $105bn foreign aid package

Joe Biden recently announced another mammoth foreign aid package. Credit: Getty

October 23, 2023 - 9:05pm

US President Joe Biden is proposing $105 billion in funding as part of a package he says will provide security assistance for conflicts in Ukraine and Israel.

The package includes $61.4 billion for Ukraine’s defence and $14.3 billion for that of Israel, along with $13.6 billion for US border security, $7.4 billion to counter Chinese influence in Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific, and $9.15 billion in humanitarian aid for Israelis, Palestinians and Ukrainians. 

The funding proposal is exacerbating a rift within the Republican party between the hawkish foreign policy establishment and aid sceptics, who tend to oppose US support for Ukraine but generally believe support for Israel is in America’s best interests. Because Biden proposed the funding as a package, members of Congress will not be able to vote on the two issues separately, which could force those Republicans to vote for Ukraine funding in order to pass funding for Israel. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell supports Biden’s proposal to tie aid for Israel to aid for Ukraine, and argued that the two conflicts were connected. “We have big power competition from China and Russia, and we still have terrorism problems, as the Israelis have certainly experienced in a brutal way in the last week,” he said. “So I think that requires a worldwide approach rather than trying to take parts of it out. It’s all connected.”

Other Senate Republicans, such as Utah Sen. Mike Lee, disagreed with McConnell. In exclusive remarks to UnHerd, Lee said:

Ukraine and Israel are distinct, important issues, and Congress should have the opportunity to consider and vote on prospective aid packages individually. If the Biden administration’s case for additional Ukraine aid is not strong enough to stand on its own, then packaging them is an insulting request to lay before Congress. It is unreasonable for the administration to exploit an aid package for Israel to siphon off billions of taxpayer dollars in yet another blank check for Ukraine.
- Sen. Mike Lee

Republican Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance went further in a memo to his Senate colleagues, calling Biden’s push for package funding a “grave error that betrays a lack of strategic focus.”

“Israeli operations will help secure the Gaza Strip; the Ukraine war has jeopardized the European security architecture and threatens global disorder,” Vance wrote. “Israel has an achievable objective; Ukraine does not.”

Resistance to Ukraine funding is even stronger among House Republicans. Earlier this year, 19 congressional Republicans called for an end to what they labelled “unrestricted aid” to Ukraine in an open letter to Biden. They urged the President to push for negotiations and an end to the fighting. 

The US has spent more than $43.9 billion supporting Ukraine’s security and defence since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, and to $3 billion in support in the nine years leading up to the invasion, according to the Department of State.

The US has spent more than $130 billion in support of Israel’s defence since its establishment in 1948, along with $7.6 billion in economic development and security funds for Gaza since the 1993 Oslo Accords. 

Without a speaker, the House is unable to pass legislation, meaning that the Biden administration’s request for funding will not pass until a Republican candidate is chosen.


is UnHerd’s US correspondent.

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Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
8 months ago

Israel doesn’t need US handouts. $14.2 billion is just 2.7% of Israel’s annual GDP. I say this a staunch supporter of Israel.
This is an entirely cynical attempt by Biden and Democrats to get their hands on tens of billons more to throw at their proxy war with Russia..

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
8 months ago

Given the US Federal Government will spend $17bn a day in 2023, $130bn on Israel’s defence since 1948 is not a great deal of money, particularly since so much of it was in turn spent on US military technology. On the other hand, neither the US taxpayer, nor the benighted denizens of Gaza, seem to have received value for money from the $7.6bn of funds directed there.

Last edited 8 months ago by Stephen Walsh
rob clark
rob clark
8 months ago

‘Resistance to Ukraine funding is even stronger among House Republicans.’
Good, we need more resistance from both parties. No more blank checks from US taxpayers for a proxy war with Russia.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago

Putin’s puppets in Washington continue to try to help him out in Ukraine.
Imagine if Trump were still president, licking Putin’s boots and bending over backwards for him. Thank god for Joe Biden!