The Biden administration is requesting more than $105 billion from Congress as part of a package it says will provide security assistance for conflicts in Ukraine and Israel while addressing “the global humanitarian impacts of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and of Hamas’ horrific attacks on Israel, including by extending humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.”
The request, the contours of which have been telegraphed to members of Congress in recent days, will also seek additional funding for the US-Mexico border and priorities in the Indo-Pacific region, two sources briefed on the details told CNN early Monday.
In a letter to Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young outlined the funding request, which in addition to $61.4 billion in aid for Ukraine and $14.3 billion in aid for Israel, includes $9.15 billion in funding for humanitarian aid, $7.4 billion in funding for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region and $13.6 billion to address security at the US-Mexico border.
“The world is watching and the American people rightly expect their leaders to come together and deliver on these priorities,” Young writes. “I urge Congress to address them as part of a comprehensive, bipartisan agreement in the weeks ahead.”
President Joe Biden made his own impassioned plea for the funding in a primetime Oval Office address to the nation Thursday, calling the moment “an inflection point” in American history.
“History has taught us that when terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror, when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction. They keep going, and the cost and the threats to America and to the world keep rising,” Biden said, warning, “If we don’t stop Putin’s appetite for power and control in Ukraine, he won’t limit himself just to Ukraine.”
But the administration still faces challenges in securing the funding – both in selling it to the American public, where public support for Ukraine has lagged as the war has continued on, and to Congress, where the House of Representatives remains locked in a bitter standstill over a battle for the Speaker’s gavel.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised the package and said he would move quickly to pass it.
“This legislation is too important to wait for the House to settle their chaos. Senate Democrats will move expeditiously on this request, and we hope that our Republican colleagues across the aisle will join us to pass this much-needed funding,” he said.
Senate Republicans have signaled that they want solid changes to border policy included in the package, and it will likely have to be negotiated further. It also could be split into several bills.
Funding for Ukraine and Israel
Per a fact sheet shared with CNN ahead of Friday’s request, more than half of the funding allocated for Ukraine – $44.4 billion – will go to the Department of Defense to replenish stocks, which it says “will support the US industrial base,” and for “continued military, intelligence, and other defense support.”
The request allocates funds for the entirety of Fiscal Year 2024, a move the administration hopes will preempt the need for more frequent fights on Capitol Hill, where Ukraine funding has emerged as a wedge issue for Republicans in the House of Representatives.
Additionally, $10.6 billion of the request for Israel will go to the Pentagon for “air and missile defense support, industrial base investments, and replenishment of DOD stocks.”
Per the administration, much of that will go towards procurement of Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems and components, and development of the Iron Beam system to aid Israel’s defense against rocket attacks and to replenish DOD stocks already drawn down for support to Israel in the wake of the October 7th Hamas attack.
Both requests come after Biden spoke earlier this week with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and traveled to Israel, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s war cabinet to assess Israel’s needs.
All told, more than $50 billion in funding will be invested directly into the American defense industrial base, the administration estimates.
On a call with reporters previewing the budget request Friday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the request “invests in America as a critical component of President Biden’s foreign policy for the middle class – it will allow us to have more weapons and equipment that defend America to be made in America.”