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17 Oct, 2023 23:37

Biden seeks $100 billion for Israel and Ukraine – Bloomberg

The White House reportedly believes a spending bundle will more easily secure congressional approval
Biden seeks $100 billion for Israel and Ukraine – Bloomberg

US President Joe Biden reportedly intends to propose a $100 billion aid bill that would include funding for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and securing the border with Mexico, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.  It is believed that bundling the aid would ensure bipartisan support in Congress, the outlet reports.

One anonymous source told Bloomberg that details of the bill “are still being worked out,” but noted that it would cover the entire fiscal year, which ends in October 2024. The earlier Ukraine aid request, which led to the ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy this month, was for $24 billion and covered only three months.

While the majority of both Democrats and Republicans support sending military aid to Israel, the Republicans are less convinced about more money for Ukraine. 

Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, proposed bundling the foreign aid with a border security bill last week, as a way to make it more palatable to some of his party colleagues. 

The House of Representatives needs to elect a new speaker before it can proceed with any legislation, however. It failed to do so on Tuesday, as Ohio Republican Jim Jordan did not have enough votes from his own party to secure the gavel.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat who leads the Senate majority, told Bloomberg that he expects the White House proposal to arrive “by the end of this week” at the earliest.

“We’d like to get the supplemental package moved as quickly as possible because the needs are great in both Israel and Ukraine,” Schumer said.

Israel has asked for $10 billion in “emergency” aid from the US, according to the New York Times, as it is fighting the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza.

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the UK broadcaster Sky News that the US can certainly afford to support both Ukraine and Israel. 

“I’ve been to Ukraine and I can tell you that the direct economic aid that we are providing to them is what enables them to fight this war,” Yellen said. To date, Washington has committed at least $113 billion in aid to Kiev, including some $44 billion worth of military assistance.

Ukrainian Defense Ministry official Gennady Kovalenko admitted to the Washington Post earlier this month that Kiev “depends one hundred percent on the United States,” and that US aid was essential.

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