GOP senators introduce stand-alone bill to aid Israel without more funding to Ukraine

GOP Sens. Roger Marshall, Ted Cruz, JD Vance and Mike Lee introduced a stand-alone bill to funnel aid to Israel without tying it to Ukraine aid on Thursday. The bill, called the Israel Supplemental Appropriations Act, is an alternative to President Biden’s $106 billion emergency supplemental bill he requested from Congress last week. The Israel Supplemental Appropriations Act, if passed, would provide $14.3 billion to Israel, including $10.6 billion for assistance through the Department of Defense (DOD), $3.5 billion for foreign military financing and $200 million to help protect U.S. embassies and personnel. BIDEN ADMIN URGES MAJOR FUNDING INCREASES FOR AID TO UKRAINE, ISRAEL AND GAZA CIVILIANS  The legislation expedites funding for Israel by allocating resources to bolster Israel’s defense capabilities, specifically focusing on enhancing systems like the Iron Dome and Iron Beam, as well as replacing weapons provided by the DOD. The bill also grants the authority to supply Israel with equipment and services already available in U.S. stockpiles and permits an increase in the quantity of weapons stored in Israel. Additionally, it earmarks funds to safeguard U.S. embassies and personnel within Israel, as well as facilitate the return of American citizens from the region. Notably, the legislation discontinues all aid directed toward Gaza, a measure designed to prevent potential diversion to Hamas terrorists. It also draws a line between sharing aid with Ukraine, prohibiting any of the funds to be used for aid to Ukraine. “The brutal, savage attacks launched by Hamas against our closest ally in the Middle East, Israel, have sent shock waves across the world,” Marshall, leading author of the bill, said in a statement. “My colleagues and I firmly believe that any aid to Israel should not be used as leverage to send tens of billions of dollars to Ukraine. Any package that does so would result in funds and resources being delayed in Israel’s time of need.” CRUZ SAYS BIDEN’S $105 BILLION FUNDING REQUEST ‘DESIGNED’ TO WORSEN BORDER CRISIS WHITE HOUSE NEGOTIATES COMBINED AID TO ISRAEL AND UKRAINE WITH SENATE Cruz said “this bill is about one thing and one thing only: getting our Israeli allies the aid they need, as fast as possible, for as long as it takes them to utterly eradicate Hamas.” “The overwhelming majority of the Senate is ready to support an aid package for Israel. The House would readily pass this bill—they are frankly not ready to pass anything else, least of all more aid to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. We should pass Israel aid immediately and then move on to those,” he said. Vance, a vocal critic of more aid to Ukraine, said assistance to Israel “should not depend on whether we continue to provide aid to Ukraine.” “Despite what the president claims, they are unique conflicts that should be handled individually,” he said. Lee echoed Vance and added, “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.” Last week, the Biden administration’s Office of Management and Budget sent Congress an emergency supplemental funding package request totaling $106 billion to aid Ukraine, Israel and to speed up asylum processing at the southern border. 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 is $9 billion earmarked for humanitarian aid in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza. Senators will have to agree on a package, with Republicans likely proposing several amendments before it is sent back to Biden’s office for signature.
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