The White House is considering tying more Ukraine funding to a request for a crucial aid package to Israel, in a bid to get Congress back on board with support for Ukraine, The Washington Post reported Monday.
The Biden administration is expected to announce a military aid package for Israel after Hamas and Palestinian militants carried out terrorist attacks against the country that killed over 1,000 Israelis and at least nine Americans. But whether the aid package is approved could depend on Congress approving further funding for Ukraine in tandem, even as support in both chambers for Ukraine aid has dropped dramatically in recent months, according to the Post.
National Security Council advisor John Kirby wouldn’t answer whether or not the aid to Israel will be tied to further Ukraine funding, but noted that the Biden administration “[believes] both are incredibly important,” according to the Post. Administration officials told the Post it could be a smart move because it would “jam the far right” and force Republicans to vote yes on future Ukraine funding, as there’s already high bipartisan support for Israel aid.
The Biden administration has sent over $75 billion to Kyiv since the beginning of Ukraine’s war against Russia in February 2022. Biden announced last week that he would give a “major speech” on the importance of support for Ukraine after Congress denied his request for additional aid.
“I’m going to make the argument that it’s overwhelmingly in the interest of the United States of America that Ukraine succeed,” Biden said Wednesday. “And it’s overwhelmingly in our interest.”
Israel is seeking an assortment of military aid from the Biden administration, including different types of machine gun ammunition, bombs, and replenishment of its Iron Dome defense interceptors, according to the Post. The aid package and the terms of the deal are expected to be announced by the White House this week.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Biden on Monday that Israel had no other option than to retaliate against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) subsequently began counteroffensive measures and began bombing the strip after warning civilians to evacuate; water and electricity, which Israel had been providing to the territory, were shut off, according to the Associated Press.
On Sunday, the day after Hamas began its attacks, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden hosted a barbeque for executive White House staff and their families in the Rose Garden. On Monday, Biden called a lid at noon and held no further press or public events for the rest of the day.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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