As the 2007-08 financial crisis erupted, then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel famously said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”
The Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel gives the White House the opportunity to tie Ukraine aid to security assistance for Israel — something few members of Congress will dare oppose, and especially Republicans.
Following a trip to Israel that did little to slow the conflict in the region. Congress is expecting the White Houses defense supplemental spending request to come in around $100 billion.
Biden is expected to ask for funding for:
$14 billion for Israel
$60 billion for Ukraine
$10 billion for humanitarian aid
$7 billion for Indo-Pacific
$14 billion for border security
Meanwhile, the House cannot pass any legislation without a new speaker as protests against U.S. support for Israel spread from Capitol Hill to the State Department to U.S. embassies in the Middle East. On top of that, the Biden administration is nearly out of funds to continue arming Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.
House Republicans removed $6 billion in Ukraine aid when Congress passed a stopgap funding bill needed to avoid a government shutdown earlier this month. The Pentagon has less than $5.5 billion to continue transferring weapons to Ukraine.
Support for funding the West’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine has been sagging, particularly in the wake of a vaunted Ukraine counteroffensive that has resulted in a net loss of territory. Last month, an amendment that would prohibit any more military aid to Ukraine won the support of 93 Republicans…and zero Democrats. That was a gain of 23 votes from a similar resolution offered in July.
Further sweetening the deal for Ukraine-weary Republicans, Biden will also ask for money for Taiwan and the US-Mexico border, the New York Times reports. He’s expected to ask for a total of $100 billion, about $60 billion of which would go to Ukraine, compared to $10 billion for Israel. The package will be positioned as an allocation meant to last a year, deferring the need for additional requests from Congress.
The US government has poured more than $75 billion into Ukraine since Russia invaded Ukraine in January 2021. As the outlays have mounted, so too has the technological complexity of the weapons. Just last weekend, Ukraine fired ATACMS missiles at Russian forces for the first time.
In Tel Aviv, Biden said he would request an “unprecedented support package for Israel’s defense.” Though Israel is among the world’s richest countries, it already receives about $3.3 billion in annual assistance from the US government — even as America’s total public debt has surged past $33 trillion, to say nothing of unfunded liabilities related to entitlement programs.