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Reuters: US Senate Democrats block bill on split aid package to Ukraine and Israel

“Our allies in Ukraine can no more afford a delay than our allies in Israel,” Senator Patty Murray said.
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Credit: Matt Hecht
Reuters: US Senate Democrats block bill on split aid package to Ukraine and Israel

On 7 November, US Senate Democrats blocked Republican attempts to quickly approve legislation providing emergency aid to Israel without corresponding funds for Ukraine passed by the House of Representatives last week, Reuters reported.

“Our allies in Ukraine can no more afford a delay than our allies in Israel,” Senator Patty Murray said.

The US Senate Democrats have thwarted a Republican bill that sought to split aid to Ukraine and Israel, emphasizing the necessity of a comprehensive approach. This approach not only covers assistance to these countries but also includes humanitarian aid, border security, and initiatives to counter China in the Indo-Pacific region. These elements were all part of a $106 billion funding proposal submitted by President Joe Biden to Congress.

According to Reuters, the Democrats criticized their counterparts in the House for allegedly politicizing the Israel aid package. They argued that the Republicans were delaying crucial aid to Israel by attempting to offset support with cuts to the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) budget. The IRS cuts, they claim, are a politically charged move rather than a bipartisan effort. The contentious House bill promised $14.3 billion to Israel in response to the Hamas attack on 7 October, including $4 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems, with some provisions for transferring equipment from US stocks. The vote in the House showcased a stark partisan divide.

Democrats labeled the proposed cuts to the IRS as a “poison pill,” a tactic they believe would worsen the US budget deficit by reducing the agency’s tax collection capacity. They stressed the importance of continuing support for Ukraine amidst its ongoing fight against Russian invasions.

To pass into law, a bill must secure the support of both the Democrat-led Senate and the Republican-controlled House and be signed by President Biden. The White House has already indicated that Biden would veto the House version of the bill, setting the stage for a legislative impasse.

Also, on 7 November, top officials from US President Joe Biden’s administration called on Congress to approve $11.8 billion in budgetary support for Ukraine.

In a joint letter, Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power explained that direct budget aid for Ukraine is critical to its battlefield success.

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