Aid to Israel and Ukraine Has Stalled
Author: Greg Valliere
November 17, 2023
THE U.S. AVERSION TO SENDING MORE MONEY TO UKRAINE became apparent by late summer, as House Republicans balked on sending billions of dollars to Kyiv to fund a war that seemed to bog down. The idea of sending more aid got a boost when Congress vowed to support Israel after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, but even that package has stalled, along with a measure to send aid to Taiwan.
CONGRESS PASSED A BILL EARLIER THIS WEEK THAT WILL KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OPEN, but no foreign aid was included. Some members of Congress think a package can move after Congress returns in two weeks, but getting a big aid package passed in December — with members eager to leave town for the year — will be difficult, especially if a bill becomes loaded down with “Christmas tree” provisions.
THE FALLBACK would be passage of legislation by the new deadlines of Jan. 19 and Feb.2, but chances clearly have slipped. Biden had requested $60 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine, which is far more money than Congress will approve.
WHAT CHANGED? House rebels who want to slash spending took aim at aid for Ukraine, as a mood of isolationism took hold this summer in the Republican ranks. At the least, they said, Ukraine shouldn’t get a blank check. The public seems to agree — and traditional defense hawks, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, suddenly got cold feet on more aid.
WE STILL THINK AID TO ISRAEL HAS SOLID SUPPORT, but if this issue languishes into late winter, support may slide further. As for Ukraine, a modest bill will be tied to passage in the House of funding to secure the U.S. border with Mexico. If there’s no money for the border, there will be very little money for Israel and Ukraine.
ISRAEL HAS A HUGE MILITARY ARSENAL, but Ukraine does not; even bullets are in short supply. With a stalemate likely as the harsh Ukrainian winter begins, Russia now has an advantage, as Vladimir Putin seems content to sacrifice thousands more troops who are little more than cannon fodder for him. Independent analysts believe Russia has suffered 300,000 dead and wounded, with Ukraine losing 200,000 dead and wounded.
U.S. VOTERS ARE WEARY OF SUPPORTING a war that appears to be unwinnable. A Reuters/Ipsos poll this week showed only 41% of Americans backed sending weapons to Ukraine, compared to 32% who were opposed with the rest unsure. The same poll showed U.S. public support dropping for Israel’s war against Hamas militants.
SEN. GRAHAM, MEANWHILE, SAYS reinforcing the U.S. border is more important than sending aid abroad. “I’m a big fan of helping Ukraine. But the border is just dangerously broken,” he told reporters this week.
CONGRESS HAS APPROVED $113 billion for Ukraine since the invasion began in February 2022. That funding could be depleted within a few months, as the great fear in Ukraine — waning Western resolve — becomes an enormous threat to Kyiv, with no truce or negotiations on the horizon.
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