‘Use The Crisis’: Republicans Balk At Biden’s Attempt To Exploit Israel For Ukraine Funding

(Photo by Miriam Alster / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MIRIAM ALSTER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
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Following his trip to Israel, President Joe Biden seized the moment with a rare Oval Office address. But rather than focusing on how the United States can aid its closest Middle Eastern ally, Biden asked Congress to further back another partner: Ukraine.

The White House asked Congress to pass a budget request totaling $105 billion in aid to Ukraine and Israel. Using Israel to push more funding for Ukraine, GOP Senators told the Daily Caller is not only “unreasonable” and “irresponsible” but an “insulting” exploit of Israel.

“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,” Utah Sen. Mike Lee told the Daily Caller. “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.”

Since the terrorist organization Hamas crossed into Israel, brutally murdering civilians while holding others hostage, Biden has pledged his unwavering support to the country. The Pentagon, at the order of Biden, moved its largest aircraft carrier to the Eastern Mediterranean a day after the attack on Israel to show the support of the United States. (RELATED: Biden Says It Would Be ‘Big Mistake’ For Israel To Occupy Gaza, Hamas Doesn’t Represent Palestinians)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Monday while in Israel that Biden would make the trip out to the country on Wednesday. The president’s unprecedented trip featured a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu where Biden assured the leader that the United States would continue to fund the country and keep its missile defense system supplied throughout its war with Hamas.

“There is an immediate responsibility on Congress to make sure Israel has what it needs to defend itself, and to hold that aid hostage by linking it with a myriad of other issues – including bailout for sanctuary cities and more money for Ukraine – is irresponsible,” Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn told the Daily Caller. 

Ahead of Biden’s Oval Office address which touted his request to Congress, a coalition of GOP senators, led by Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, demanded that the president decouple the aid to Israel from aid to Ukraine. Nearly two years along, the Ukraine-Russia war continues to wage without an end in sight.

Congress approved a funding package to Ukraine of more than $112 billion in 2022, though the White House has said the funding is now dwindling and needs to be replenished, according to NPR. Biden’s most recent ask to Congress in August was for an additional $24 billion which would fund Ukraine through December.

A digital billboard welcomes US President Joe Biden to Israel on October 18, 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel. President Biden will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well with President Isaac Herzog, and with the families of the hostages taken by Hamas. Jordan cancelled a visit with Biden that was supposed to happen after he left Israel. As Israel prepares to invade the Gaza Strip in its campaign to vanquish Hamas, the Palestinian militant group Hamas who launched a deadly attack in southern Israel on October 7th, worries are growing of a wider war with multiple fronts, including at the country's northern border with Lebanon. Countries have scrambled to evacuate their citizens from Israel, and Israel has begun relocating some communities on its northern border. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

A digital billboard welcomes US President Joe Biden to Israel on October 18, 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel. President Biden will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well with President Isaac Herzog, and with the families of the hostages taken by Hamas. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Now, Biden is asking for an additional $61.4 billion in aid for Ukraine which is paired with $14.3 billion aid for Israel as well as another $9.15 billion in aid for humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, “and other needs.”

“Funding for Israel should not be used as a bargaining chip to send billions of more dollars to Ukraine,” Marshall told the Daily Caller. “The mere idea of that, as we have Americans still missing in Israel, is wrong. These are two separate conflicts, and by trying to jam this additional funding for Ukraine into a massive spending package, you only will prolong the aid getting to the people who need it most right now: Israel.”

American support for Ukraine funding has been dwindling. Forty-one percent of Americans think the United States should provide weapons to Ukraine while 35 percent disagreed with the move, and 24 percent were unsure of what should be done, according to an Oct. 5 Reuters/Ipsos poll. The support for Ukraine among Americans has dropped since May when 46 percent backed sending weapons and 29 percent were opposed to doing so.

Support for Israel among Americans appears to be more pressing. A majority of Americans, 85 percent, are very or somewhat concerned about the war in the Middle East and its potential to escalate, according to a recent Quinnipiac University Poll. Fifty-two percent of American voters believe the United States has the right to support Israel. When it comes to sending weapons to Israel, 64% of Americans approve of sending weapons to Israel.

“President Biden should not endanger or delay aid to Israel by bundling it with controversial spending like aid to Ukraine that many Senators have already said they will vote against without a coherent strategy from the White House, which we have not gotten,” Indiana Sen. Mike Braun told the Daily Caller. “Any aid package to Israel should be passed in a clean bill.”

Biden’s aid package requests additional weapons and equipment for Ukraine as well as funds to help the country’s “critical economic and civilian security assistance,” according to White House fact sheet. The funds requested for Israel would help back the Israeli Defense Forces and help keep the Iron Dome, Israel’s missile defense system, replenished.

After Biden touted the aid package, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson told the Daily Caller that he hopes the Republican conference “holds together to deny cloture” until they have a say in the construction of the budget. 

“The Biden administration should not use the crisis in Israel— and our desire to help our strongest ally— to get additional funding for Ukraine across the finish line, especially as people in Wyoming struggle to afford record-breaking inflation rates,” Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis told the Daily Caller. “The wars we’re seeing unfold in both Israel and Ukraine are heartbreaking, but they are two separate conflicts, and the aid we give one country should not be contingent on another.”

The White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.