The Biden administration is pushing for Congress to take up an emergency assistance package that would pair support for Ukraine and Israel, according to a senior White House official and multiple lawmakers.
“The president has made clear that he is going to go to Congress with a package of funding for Ukraine as well as continued support for Israel,” Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Last month, Congress let lapse the emergency funds it had been sending to Ukraine for its war with Russia, amid dwindling Republican support for such assistance. In contrast, Hamas’s deadly raid last weekend prompted a sweeping bipartisan outcry for similar assistance to Israel. The decision to tie aid for Ukraine to aid for Israel reflects the urgency of both conflicts — and a calculation that Republicans who would otherwise be loath to send more money to Ukraine may feel bound to approve such a package to support Israel.
Speaking in Tel Aviv on Sunday, Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, promised to put an aid package to a floor vote in the next few weeks.
“We’re not waiting for the House,” he told reporters after meeting with top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet. “We believe if we put together a strong package and pass it with an overwhelming, strong bipartisan majority, it will put pressure on the House, one way or another, to act.”
Mr. Schumer said he had discussed the package with Israeli leaders, including replacement ammunition for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, 155-millimeter shells, precision-guided bombs and JDAMs, kits that convert unguided bombs into precision munitions. Mr. Schumer has separately called for including humanitarian aid to Palestinians in a package of aid to Israel.
Legislative activity in the House has been at a standstill for almost two weeks since Representative Kevin McCarthy was ousted as speaker. Most Republicans in that chamber have resisted the idea of pairing assistance for Ukraine and Israel, fearing that help for Israel might be held up by growing Republican resistance to Ukraine aid.
But Representative Mike Turner of Ohio, the chairman of the intelligence committee, noted that the package also included priority items that his fellow Republicans would be hard-pressed to vote against, such as funds to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and support for Taiwan.
“They’re putting those together so that we don’t piecemeal this,” Mr. Turner said Sunday on “Face the Nation.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who has called for a comprehensive aid package in the Senate, all but dared his House counterparts to vote against it in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“If you strip out Ukrainian aid, Russia will keep going, there will eventually be a war between NATO and Russia, and it will be a green light to China to invade Taiwan,” Mr. Graham warned.