Will Democrats Try to Link Aid to Israel With Ukraine Aid?

AP Photo/Fatima Shbair

Aid to Ukraine to fight its war against Russia has languished in Congress since the Continuing Resolution was passed without it. At that time, nearly half of the Republicans in the House who supported aid to Ukraine were more eager to pass the temporary funding bill than to pass Ukraine aid.


Most of the Republican leadership supports giving Ukraine billions of dollars more in funding. But a sizable number of rank-and-file Republicans do not. Since almost all Democrats support the funding, the funding is probably going to pass sooner rather than later.

But the minority of Republicans in the House who oppose aid for Ukraine can still make plenty of trouble for whoever the speaker is going to be. That’s why there has been a lot of talk in recent days in Washington to tie aid to Ukraine to the even more popular aid to Israel, ensuring quick passage of both packages.

It’s a bad idea that appears dead on arrival in the House.


The speaker-less House Republican majority is still resistant to more Ukraine money, which has sparked speculation in the Senate that combining Israel and Ukraine assistance might make the latter more enticing. Perhaps, the thinking goes, the Senate can jam the House with such an overwhelming bipartisan vote for two top foreign-policy priorities that the combined aid legislation would be impossible not to take up.

In reality, it’s not that simple.The Heritage Foundation, often aligned with conservatives, is aggressively moving to sink the idea of linking funds for the two U.S. allies. And House Republicans are skeptical that the weekend terrorist attacks on Israel would strengthen the case for a two-part aid package.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said his focus is on combining border enforcement funding with Ukraine. Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.), a battleground-seat incumbent, said of Israel and Ukraine: “They should not be coupled together.”


Indeed, the GOP wants to couple border security with Ukraine aid — an excellent way to put pressure on Biden and the Democrats to improve border security with the added bonus of forcing Biden to acknowledge the crisis at the border.

As for Ukraine, an aid package will eventually be passed. Hopefully, Republicans will be able to include some sort of demand for transparency that will let Congress know exactly where these weapons and money are going. There have been indications in recent months that some of the small arms are being diverted and sold for profit.

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As far as rushing aid to Israel, the Jewish state is running low on stocks of Iron Dome missiles and ammunition but could be partially resupplied from our own stocks as part of previous arms deals. That’s a temporary fix, however, and Congress will no doubt have a better idea of what Israel needs from the U.S. in a few days.

There’s an argument that linking the two causes together would shake loose the necessary GOP backing for Ukraine money; there’s also an argument that Israel aid could move faster on its own, showing that an oft-dysfunctional Congress can successfully react to crises.

A third argument is also palpable on the Hill: Let’s talk about this another time.

“It seems almost a little unseemly, with Israelis and Americans being held hostage by these terrorists, to talk about the sausage making process of how we bring that aid to both,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said. “There will be time for that.”


First things first: Republicans need to elect a speaker. Unlike in January, there appears to be some urgency attached to the election.

That doesn’t mean that the process will go any faster, only that there’s more urgency to Congress spinning its wheels.


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