Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) vowed in a letter to his colleagues to bring a bill to the Senate floor as soon as December 4 to fund military aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. President Biden has requested the funding as part of a massive $105 billion spending package.
“One of the most important tasks we must finish is taking up and passing a funding bill to ensure we as well as our friends and partners in Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific region have the necessary military capabilities to confront and deter our adversaries and competitors,” Schumer said. “That’s why I intend to bring the President’s national security supplemental package to the floor as soon as the week of December 4.”
Schumer blamed Republicans for the delay in the passage of the $105 billion behemoth, which was formally requested on October 20. He said the biggest holdup “is the insistence by our Republican colleagues on partisan border policy as a condition for vital Ukraine aid,” although Biden’s request includes $13.6 billion for the border.
House Republicans have passed a bill that stripped the over $14 billion allocated to fund Israel’s war in Gaza from Biden’s $105 billion request. But it has been rejected by Democrats because it includes cuts to the IRS, and Schumer has refused to bring it to the floor for a vote in the Senate.
Despite the impasse, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said Monday that he is “confident and optimistic” that Congress will be able to pass funding for both Israel and Ukraine. President Biden has requested $61 billion to fund the proxy war in Ukraine for another entire year despite Kyiv’s failed counteroffensive.
Johnson said Israel is a “top priority” for the US and said Ukraine is also important but must be tied to border funding. “Ukraine is another priority. Of course, we can’t allow Vladimir Putin to march through Europe. And we understand the necessity of assisting there. What we’ve said is that if there is to be additional assistance to Ukraine — which most members of Congress believe is important — we have to also work on changing our own border policy,” he said.
Johnson said that negotiations on the issues were ongoing. He also said the other items included in Biden’s $105 billion request will also be worked out. “With regard to the rest of it, there’s some other items in the supplemental package — I think all that will come together in the coming days,” he said.
Biden also asked for $7.4 billion to spend on the US military buildup in the Indo-Pacific region, which includes $2 billion in military aid that’s expected to mainly go to Taiwan. Republican China hawks are asking for another $12 billion to spend on preparations for a future war with China in the region.