US Senate Releases $110 Billion Funding Package for Israel, Ukraine, Border

Jackson Richman
By Jackson Richman
December 6, 2023Congress

The Senate released on Dec. 5 a $110.5 billion supplemental package that includes assistance to Ukraine and Israel, as well as measures to secure the border.

A procedural vote surrounding the 167-page bill is expected on Dec. 6, but faces opposition from Republicans who want tougher border security measures in exchange for further support for Ukraine.

The package allocates $13.5 billion in weapons to Ukraine amid its war with Russia, which invaded the Eastern European country in February 2022.

Talks between Senate Democrats and Republicans reportedly broke down over the weekend, thereby jeopardizing further Ukraine aid. The Biden administration has warned that U.S. funding for Ukraine is set to run out by the end of the year.

In a Dec. 4 letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young said funding for Kyiv will expire at the end of this year.

“I want to be clear: without congressional action, by the end of the year, we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from U.S. military stocks,” she wrote.

In response, Mr. Johnson sent a Dec. 5 letter to Ms. Young, reminding her that Ukraine funding is contingent on changing southern border policy and answers from the administration on their strategy for Ukraine.

“The open U.S. border is an unconscionable and unsustainable catastrophe, and we have a moral responsibility to insist this madness stops immediately,” he wrote. “Rather than engaging with Congressional Republicans to discuss logical reforms, the Biden administration has ignored reality, choosing instead to engage in political posturing.”

In response to a question from The Epoch Times on Dec. 5 about the partisan tension in Congress over Ukraine funding, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller warned, “We’re at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to our ability to provide security assistance to Ukraine.

“Ukraine is about to enter what we know will be a very difficult winter when we’ve seen Russia launch attacks on critical Ukrainian infrastructure that they use to enable people to heat their homes during the winter.”

The measure would also give $10.6 billion in military assistance to Israel amid its latest conflict with the terrorist group Hamas. Of that amount, $4 billion would go toward the Jewish state’s missile defense systems—including the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and the Arrow systems. There is $1.2 billion to advance the Iron Beam, which is in development and would be an advanced missile defense system.

The bill also consists of humanitarian aid to Gaza, Ukraine, the West Bank, and other places. There has been humanitarian assistance that has reached Gaza over the past several weeks despite criticisms that Hamas, which controls Gaza, would confiscate such aid.

Additionally, the supplemental includes assistance to the Indo-Pacific amid the threats from China and North Korea.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) blasted the proposed funding.

“The supplemental’s supposed to be all about national security, but it fails to deliver anything on one of the most urgent national security priorities, and that is the crisis at the southern border,” Mr. Cornyn said.

“In all the time I’ve been working on this issue, I’ve never seen anything like the current situation,” he said.

“President Biden, during his time in office, has shattered every record on the books when it comes to illegal border crossings. The border crisis isn’t the result of scarce resources but of an intentional refusal by the Biden administration to actually enforce the law.”

Funds for Military-Industrial Complex

The legislation, overall, would invest $43.6 billion in the U.S. military-industrial complex.

Moreover, it consists of almost $5.32 billion for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1.9 billion of which is to operate and secure the border. There is just under $1.09 billion to stop illicit drugs, including fentanyl, from going into the United States.

Following the Ukraine briefing, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) of having “hijacked” the meeting by asking Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) for an update on the border negotiations between Senate Republicans and Democrats.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Mr. McConnell’s office for comment.

Finally, the supplemental includes a record $1 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program—which has been crucial to the Jewish community over the past several years amid the rise in antisemitism, a trend that has only continued amid the Hamas-Israel war. Recipients of the grant program can use up to 50 percent of funds toward armed security—if they want to use more than that percentage, they must get a waiver from FEMA.

In a statement, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) called on her colleagues to pass the bill.

Appearing to take a shot at Republicans, Ms. Murray went on to say that “it’s past time for senators to stop tying partisan and extreme immigration proposals to a broadly bipartisan supplemental.”

“I urge my colleagues to realize that continuing to delay passage of a serious security supplemental—or failing to pass one—would be a massive gift to Putin, the Chinese Communist Party, and our adversaries around the world,” she said.

From The Epoch Times

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