WASHINGTON — The White House on Friday requested that Congress provide more than $105 billion in aid to Ukraine and Israel and other national security needs. The move comes one day after President Joe Biden’s Oval Office address, where he announced his intention to provide more funding for “America’s national security needs” and support for “our critical partners.”
If approved, $61.4 billion in aid would go to Ukraine, and $14.3 billion in aid would go to Israel. The White House requested $9.15 billion in aid for humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, Israel, Gaza “and other needs.”
The proposal also includes funding for border operations, supporting shelters and services for migrants and efforts to counter fentanyl.
“It’s a smart investment that’s going to pay dividends for American security for generations, help us keep American troops out of harm’s way, help us build a world that is safer, more peaceful, and more prosperous for our children and grandchildren,” Biden said in Thursday’s address.
The funding for Ukraine would go toward additional weapons and equipment, support for the country to provide “critical services to its people and sustain its economy,” assistance for displaced Ukrainians and nuclear and radiological incident response capabilities, among other resources, according to a White House fact sheet.
Aid to Israel would fund the country’s aid and missile defense systems’ readiness, including support for the Iron Dome. It would also go toward replenishing Department of Defense stocks that the White House said “are being drawn down to support Israel in its time of need,” increasing U.S. embassy security, the fact sheet said.
The request would invest more than $50 billion in “the American defense industrial base,” which the White House said will ensure ongoing U.S. military readiness.
“Without additional replenishment funding, DOD will be unable to continue to backfill the Military Services for equipment provided via drawdown to Ukraine and Israel, thereby degrading U.S. readiness,” the fact sheet said.
Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, sent a letter to House Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., urging Congress to address the request quickly. NBC News has reached out to McHenry’s office for comment. Identical letters were also sent to Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as the House and Senate appropriations chairpersons and ranking members.
In a statement, House appropriations committee ranking member Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said she looked forward to reviewing the request, adding that “time is of the essence.”
“This request reflects how, under President Biden’s leadership, the U.S. has marshalled a robust response to Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and is now coming to the aid of our ally Israel,” Young wrote. “As we replenish our stocks of weapons, we are partnering with the U.S. defense industry to increase our capacity and meet the needs of the United States and our allies both now and in the future.”
But the request faces an uphill battle in the House, which is still without a speaker — and therefore can’t really do much of anything. McHenry has threatened to resign as speaker pro tempore if his colleagues push him to move legislation without voting to expand his authority.
“Our job is to make clear to Congress what the needs are and what happens if this critical funding is not delivered,” Young said when asked during a cal with reporters Friday about the House’s ability to take up the request. “So we’re doing our job here by letting Congress know what, what the critical needs are and we expect them to act and act swiftly.”
A group of nine Senate Republicans sent a letter to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to separate aid to Israel from aid to Ukraine.
“These are two separate conflicts and it would be wrong to leverage support of aid to Israel in attempt to get additional aid for Ukraine across the finish line,” read the letter, led by Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Roger Marshall of Kansas.
“Furthermore, it would be irresponsible and we should not risk a government shutdown by bundling these priorities together and thus complicating the process and lessening the likelihood of a funding package.”