On November 7, Democrats in the Senate voted against a Republican-led measure that would have provided Israel with stand-alone funding.
Republican Senators, including Roger Marshall of Kentucky, have been pushing for swift acceptance of legislation recently approved in a bipartisan U.S. House of Representatives vote. The bill would aid Israel with $14 billion after the Hamas terrorist attack on the country.
“A timely military aid package with a unified voice from Congress showing support for Israel will not only add to Israel’s stability, but it will also slow down and hopefully stop the evil plots of Hamas, Iran, and its proxies,” Marshall said on the Senate floor.
He emphasized that the funding level is the same in President Biden’s October funding request.
President Biden’s request, though, also included additional money for Ukraine.
“Our allies in Ukraine can no more afford a delay than our allies in Israel,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said on the floor in Washington.
Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), a backer of the House-passed measure, maintains funding for Ukraine and Israel should not be connected.
“The idea that these policies are not in tension with one another, the idea that what happens in Russia and Ukraine is separate from what happens in Israel is not just obvious, it is common sense, and it has been borne out by the reality of the last couple of weeks,” Vance said on the floor. “Now, too many of my colleagues would like to collapse these packages because they would like to use Israel as a political fig leaf for Joe Biden’s Ukraine policy.”
Vance questioned the point of all the U.S. aid to Ukraine, noting that over $100 billion had already been provided since the Russian invasion.
The supplementary funding package composed by the House includes $4 billion for Israel’s defense systems, including the Iron Dome, and additional funds for replenishing supplies, obtaining weapons, and procuring ammunition.
The legislation would also cut the amount sent to Israel from the IRS, evoking criticism from some Democrats. Still, Senate Democrats primarily focused on the lack of funding for Ukraine.
“The House Republican messaging bill represents a misguided attempt to deny needed assistance to Ukraine. It’s not really about helping Israel. It’s about failing to keep our commitments to Ukraine,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said.
Reed claimed, “Without more funding for Ukraine, China would receive the message that they can attack, wait out the West, and eventually we will concede.”
After Democrats blocked the bill, Marshall criticized the move, declaring, “Democrats turned a bipartisan opportunity to help our closest ally in the Middle East into political showmanship by using the tragedy unfolding in Israel to demand another blank check for Ukraine,” he said in a statement.
Mike Johnson (R-La.), Speaker of the House of Representatives, has justified the package by arguing that aid to Ukraine should be addressed independently.