Dispute over Israel, Ukraine Aid Puts Speaker Johnson at Odds with Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell

Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) decision to split Israel and Ukraine aid puts him at odds with President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

The House will return to session on Wednesday, when the chamber will take on a slate of issues, including potential Ukraine and Israel funding.

House Republicans plan to pass a bill with $14 billion in aid for Israel, but they wish to offset the cost of the foreign aid, as Johnson’s team hopes to splinter Democrat unity.

Biden, Schumer, and McConnell want to pass Ukraine and Israel together in a larger supplemental package without offsets for the foreign aid.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on March 1, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

McConnell wants Ukraine aid included. Punchbowl News reported that about half of the Senate Republican Conference agrees with McConnell, even though there is loud opposition to it from conservatives.

“We don’t have enough [industrial base] capacity to support a three-front war. We’ve got to focus, and I think we should be focusing on Israel and Taiwan,” Sen. J.D. Vance said on Sunday.

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill May 16, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Biden administration hopes to secure $60 billion in aid to Ukraine, and many Senate Republicans realize that this proposal to tie Ukraine aid to Israel aid could be their last chance to aid Ukraine’s protracted conflict with Russia.

So far, the United States has provided more than $113 billion in aid to Ukraine.

The Biden White House recently argued that the two proposed aid packages are inherently linked.

“Like President Biden said when he addressed the nation from the Oval Office, Hamas and Putin both want to viciously annihilate a neighboring democracy. In fact, Russian officials met with Hamas representatives in Moscow just this week,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement.

“For American national security, it is critical to stand with Israel as they defend themselves against Hamas terrorists who unleashed pure evil on October 7th; and to stand with Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russian brutality — carried out in part with Iranian weapons — and Russia’s kidnapping of Ukrainian children,” he continued.

Although many House Republicans will likely support a blank aid bill to Israel, some House conservatives remain opposed to sending more foreign aid out altogether.

“This week the House will vote on $14.5 billion foreign aid package for Israel, in addition to the $3.8 billion that already passed,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) wrote.

“We simply can’t afford it,” he wrote.

“I’m voting NO as well. We are $33 TRILLION in debt and our wide open border is a national security crisis,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) wrote, echoing Massie’s argument.

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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