In Congress, House and Senate leaders are taking different approaches to foreign aid to Israel and Ukraine.
In the Senate, both the U.S. Senate majority and minority leaders are currently pushing for a combined aid package to support the two countries. But in the House, House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana has put forward a standalone Israel aid package totaling $14.3 billion.
Last week U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville pushed back against his own leadership’s approach, arguing any aid to Israel should be its own standalone bill.
“I am 100% behind Israel as they work to wipe Hamas off the map, (but) unfortunately, President Joe Biden is sending mixed messages about jamming more Ukraine funding through Congress; it’s not going to work,” Tuberville told reporters.
“Israel is our ally, Ukraine is not. We don’t have a strategic interest in Eastern Europe, (but) we do have a strategic interest in killing Islamic terrorists who chant death to America. Democrats shouldn’t include a Ukraine poison pill in this package; it needs to be bipartisan, our focus needs to be on supporting and supplying Israel.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, a strong proponent of additional aid to Ukraine, called the House plan “stunningly unserious.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel, R-KY, while not commenting directly on Johnson’s proposal, continues to strongly advocate for more Ukraine aid.
Since Russia’s invasion in early 2022, the United States has allocated well over $110 billion in aid to Ukraine. While strong in the early stages of the conflict, support for continued Ukraine funding has wavered among both Americans and members of congress, particularly among Republican lawmakers.
Having called for a peace deal to be brokered back in July, Tuberville has long been among those who have questioned continued support to Ukraine.
“Ukraine’s not winning, and that’s what’s happening, and we’re almost out of munitions,” he previously told Alabama Daily News.
Tuberville said his support for Israel, however, is “100%,” and suggested that the Biden administration had not done enough to communicate on the world stage to demonstrate the United States’ support for Israel.
“This conflict has unified the Middle Eastern countries around Gaza, and if you just look at the situation that we’re in right now, Israel does not have a lot of friends; we’re a friend of Israel, we’re going to stick with Israel,” he said.
“We have weak leadership here in Washington, D.C. with President Biden, Secretary (Anthony) Blinken, Sen. Schumer… appeasement has just absolutely put our world in harm’s way. You can’t ride the fence, you have to be strong, and right now the United States is not making a strong statement, we’re trying to ride the fence and it’s not going to work.”