While Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is supportive of President Biden’s $105 billion request to Congress to fund Israel and Ukraine, among other emergency items, some GOP lawmakers are not on board with coupling the two.
Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, joins the latest push from legislators who are skeptical of aid to Ukraine but fully support Israel’s war against Islamic militant group Hamas.
Vance began circulating a memo among senators on Monday, titled, ‘Differentiating Ukraine and Israel.’
A wrench could be thrown into getting the package across the finish line as more GOP senators voice opposition to the mega package. Additionally, the House still stands in disarray as the lower chamber has yet to elect a new speaker.
‘The administration seeks to link Ukraine and Israel funding. This is a grave error that betrays a lack of strategic focus. Each conflict is distinct and represents a different claim on U.S. interests,’ the memo reads.
Vance outlined five main points: 1) Israeli operations will help secure the Gaza Strip; the Ukraine war has jeopardized the European security architecture and threatens global disorder; 2) Our political and military relationship with Israel is qualitatively different from our relationship with Ukraine; 3) Israel has a qualitatively different defense capability than Ukraine; 4) Israel has an achievable objective; Ukraine does not; 5) The U.S. does not have a plan in Ukraine, but we do have a plan in Israel.
‘Israel has a clear plan, and we have a clear means of helping them to fulfill that plan — by providing very specific munitions to enable Israel to conduct a limited operation with a view to neutralizing the threat Hamas poses to Israel. We have no such plan for the Russia-Ukraine War,’ Vance wrote in the memo.
‘Our assistance to Ukraine is neither wellscoped nor secure, and includes funding for Ukrainian farmers, subsidies for Ukrainian small businesses, and payments for Ukrainian first responders,’ he added.
Vance joins a growing choir of GOP lawmakers who are opposed to coupling the package. Instead, lawmakers want the package divvied out and voted on individually ahead of the Nov. 17 funding deadline.
In a letter sent to McConnell and Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Friday, a handful of GOP senators — including Vance — wrote: ‘These are two separate conflicts and it would be wrong to leverage support of aid to Israel in attempt to get additional aid for Ukraine across the finish line.’
‘Furthermore, it would be irresponsible and we should not risk a government shutdown by bundling these priorities together and thus complicating the process and lessening the likelihood of a funding package,’ the letter continued.
The funding proposal includes $61.4 billion for Ukraine; $14.3 billion for Israel (with $10.6 billion allocated for military aid); $13.6 billion for border protection (including measures to combat the flow of fentanyl); and significant investments in Indo-Pacific security assistance, totaling around $7.4 billion. Additionally, there’s $9 billion earmarked for humanitarian aid in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza.