A group of GOP Senators, including Roger Marshall, Ted Cruz, JD Vance, and Mike Lee, have come forward with a new bill that they're dubbing the "Israel Supplemental Appropriations Act." This is in response to President Biden's recent request for a hefty $106 billion emergency bill. The GOP's alternative? An exclusive $14.3 billion for Israel, breaking down as $10.6 billion via the Department of Defense, $3.5 billion for foreign military financing, and a neat $200 million for the safety of U.S. embassies and personnel over there.
This bill is all about ramping up Israel's defense game, especially with tech like the Iron Dome and Iron Beam, and replenishing any weapons given by the U.S. Defense Department. Plus, the bill gives a thumbs up for sending over equipment and services we've got in our stockpiles and even increasing the amount of weapons stored in Israel. And to sweeten the deal, there's a focus on ensuring our embassies and staff in Israel are safe and sound.
Interestingly, the bill clearly states: no aid for Gaza. This move seems to be all about preventing funds from accidentally landing in the hands of Hamas. And there's another catch: the bill doesn't want any of the allocated funds to be mixed up with Ukraine aid.
Marshall, the main author, emphasized that given the recent attacks by Hamas on Israel, aid to Israel shouldn't be tied to funds for Ukraine. He's concerned that combining the two could cause delays when Israel needs the support pronto. Cruz was straightforward about it, saying the main goal is to provide Israel with the necessary aid to tackle Hamas. He believes the Senate and House are on board with helping Israel, but not so much with giving more to Gaza.
Vance voiced his concern that Israel's aid shouldn't hinge on Ukraine aid. He sees them as separate issues. Lee shared the sentiment, adding that if Biden's reasons for Ukraine aid aren't solid on their own, combining them with Israel's request is just a slap in the face to Congress.
For context, Biden's team last week asked Congress for that big $106 billion funding package. This includes a split for Ukraine, Israel, border protection, and a focus on Indo-Pacific security assistance. Plus, a humanitarian aid chunk for Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza. Now, Senators have the task of hashing out the details, and it looks like the Republicans will be throwing in some changes before it lands on Biden's desk.