The Biden administration is seeking over $105 billion from Congress for a package that aims to offer security assistance for conflicts in Ukraine and Israel. Additionally, it aims to tackle the global humanitarian repercussions of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and Hamas’ horrific attacks on Israel. This package will also extend humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the upcoming request to Congress will include provisions for increased funding towards the US-Mexico border and initiatives in the Indo-Pacific region. These details have been communicated to members of Congress in advance of the request.
Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young has submitted a funding request to Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry. The request includes $61.4 billion in aid for Ukraine and $14.3 billion in aid for Israel, as well as $9.15 billion in humanitarian aid. Additionally, the request includes $7.4 billion in funding for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region and $13.6 billion to address security concerns at the US-Mexico border.
In his message, Young emphasizes that the eyes of the world are on the United States, and it is important for the country’s leaders to unite and fulfill their responsibilities. He urges Congress to tackle these priorities as part of a larger, bipartisan effort in the coming weeks.
In a powerful Oval Office address to the nation on Thursday, President Joe Biden appealed for the necessary funding, stating that this moment is a critical turning point in American history.
According to Biden, history has shown that when terrorists and dictators are not held accountable for their actions, they continue to cause chaos, death, and destruction. He emphasized the importance of ensuring that Putin pays a price for his aggression in Ukraine, as failure to do so could lead to further threats to America and the world. Biden warned that if Putin’s appetite for power and control is not curbed, he may expand his reach beyond Ukraine.
However, securing the funding remains a challenge for the administration. It needs to convince both the American public, where support for Ukraine has declined due to the prolonged war, and Congress, where the House of Representatives is in a deadlock over the battle for the Speaker’s gavel.
Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, has expressed his admiration for the package and has vowed to expedite its passage through the legislative process.
He stated that the House’s current chaos should not delay the passage of this crucial legislation. The Senate Democrats will promptly proceed with the request, and they are hopeful that their Republican counterparts will support and pass the much-needed funding.
Senate Republicans have indicated their desire for significant changes to be made to border policy within the package and further negotiations will be necessary. Additionally, the package may need to be divided into multiple bills.
Funding for Ukraine and Israel
According to a fact sheet disclosed to CNN prior to the request made on Friday, the Department of Defense will receive over half of the funds assigned for Ukraine, which amounts to $44.4 billion. The funds will be utilized to replenish stocks and support the US industrial base, in addition to providing continued support for military, intelligence, and other defense operations.
The administration aims to avoid frequent battles in Capitol Hill over Ukraine funding, which has become a divisive issue for House Republicans. To achieve this goal, the request sets aside funds for the entire Fiscal Year 2024.
Moreover, a significant portion of the $10.6 billion allocated for Israel will be directed towards the Pentagon. The funds will be utilized for various purposes, including air and missile defense support, industrial base investments, and replenishing Department of Defense stocks.
According to the administration, a significant portion of the funds will be allocated for the purchase of missile defense systems and components, including Iron Dome and David’s Sling. Additionally, the Iron Beam system will be developed to enhance Israel’s defense against rocket attacks and replenish the Department of Defense’s stocks that were depleted following the Hamas attack on October 7th.
Following his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his trip to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s war cabinet to evaluate their requirements, President Biden has made two appeals.
According to estimates from the administration, the American defense industrial base will receive over $50 billion in funding.
During a press call to discuss the budget request, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan emphasized the importance of investing in America as a key element of President Biden’s middle-class-focused foreign policy. He noted that the request would enable the production of more American-made weapons and equipment to strengthen America’s defenses.
He stated that the budget request is vital to progress America’s national security and guarantee the safety of its citizens.
The White House is requesting approximately $14 billion through its border security supplemental ask. This reflects the administration’s ongoing desire for increased funding to support personnel along the US-Mexico border. Additionally, the funds will be used to provide support to cities that are assisting asylum seekers, as well as to finance new initiatives aimed at reducing the number of migrants coming to the United States.
As per the White House, the request comprises funding for hiring 1,300 more Border Patrol agents, along with finances for employing 1,000 Customs and Border Protection officers, 375 immigration judge teams, which is the largest incremental request, and 1,600 asylum officers. The proposal also includes funds for additional detention beds, which Republicans have been demanding, and this is likely to face resistance from Democrats.
The White House has requested $1.4 billion for shelter and services for migrants who have been released from DHS custody and have moved to cities in the US while awaiting their immigration proceedings. This request has become a point of contention between Democratic allies and the White House.
According to an anonymous source, the US government had previously requested $4 billion in additional funding to address concerns on the US-Mexico border. The new funding request includes FY 2024, which explains its higher amount compared to the supplemental request made by the White House earlier this year.
In a stark reminder that the House of Representatives is still without a speaker of the House, House Republicans are struggling to agree on a consensus leader for their conference. On Friday, a letter requesting supplemental funding was addressed to Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry.
The Biden administration’s funding request is in limbo as the House Republicans continue to battle over their party’s leadership, resulting in the House’s inability to pass legislation due to the absence of a speaker.
During the call on Friday, the OMB Director refrained from disclosing whether the administration has a strategy to tackle the gridlock that may arise if the speaker’s conflict persists on Capitol Hill.
In response to CNN’s inquiry, Young stated that it is up to the House to resolve the matter. He emphasized the urgency of the situation, citing the National Security Adviser and the President’s previous statements. Young further explained that it is the President’s responsibility to communicate the needs to Congress, and their job is to make it clear to Congress what the consequences will be if the funding is not delivered. As such, their role is to inform Congress of the critical needs and to expect prompt action.
During a press conference on Capitol Hill, Speaker designate Jim Jordan emphasized the importance of electing a speaker to kickstart the appropriations process and ensure that crucial elements of the government receive funding. However, Jordan has been unable to secure the necessary support from Republicans to win the position.
He stated, “We cannot move forward if the house remains closed, and to open the House, we need a Speaker.”
In the coming days, the administration hinted at requesting more funding to tackle various domestic priorities. These priorities include replenishing FEMA’s emergency relief fund, as well as providing funds for nutritional assistance programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
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