Lawmakers Divided on Israel, Ukraine Aid Package as Legislative Year Comes to a Close
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With only three weeks left on the legislative calendar, lawmakers remain at an impasse over an aid package that would provide much-needed assistance for both Israel and Ukraine.
Some of the key sticking points involve funding for the aid package and U.S. immigration reform. While a majority of lawmakers agree aid to our allies is critical, there doesn't appear to be a clear path forward.
"We passed the bipartisan Israel support package out of the House awhile ago...it's been sitting in the Senate and on Chuck Schumer's desk so we are encouraging him to get that done," House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said during an event in Florida earlier this week.
He believes Congress will reach an agreement before the holidays but as two separate aid packages.
"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. And so there's been a lot of thoughtful negotiation, ongoing, with that. I think most of our Senate colleagues recognize that those two things need to go together," Johnson said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) however, wrote to fellow Democrats Sunday that he plans to bring a national security package to the floor as soon as next week that would tie the Israel and Ukraine funding together.
The bill would also address border security and a number of other foreign policy issues.
Meanwhile, Democrats also face pressure from lawmakers critical of Israel's war in Gaza. During a recent media gathering, President Biden said the question of aid to Israel with conditions was a "worthwhile thought."
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan clarified that statement on NBC's Meet the Press, saying the current U.S. approach is working.
"The approach that he is taking, direct presidential diplomacy behind closed doors, with the Israelis and with our Arab partners. That's what's generating the kinds of results we're seeing right now, that's the course he's on," Sullivan said.
Another sticking point centers around how these aid packages will be funded. Republicans proposed cuts to IRS funding, something Democrats are not expected to back.
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