President Biden is expected to ask Congress in the coming days to approve about $100 billion in emergency funding to arm Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan and establish the US-Mexico border, according to multiple people familiar with the plan.
The funding request, which lawmakers expect to receive by Friday morning, would cover the entire year and is intended to insulate security funds from partisan spending battles that have hampered recent efforts to supply Ukraine with weapons and other aid to counter a Russian invasion.
The package is expected to include about $10 billion in mostly military aid to aid Israel, as well as about $60 billion for Ukraine, according to aides familiar with the discussions, who described the new proposal on condition of anonymity because it has yet to be announced. The rest of the $100 billion is expected to be dedicated to border security and help strengthen the defenses of Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region to better counter threats from China.
Mr. Biden is scheduled to deliver comments from the Oval Office on Thursday night about America’s response to the wars in Israel and Ukraine.
Over the past week, senior White House officials and Senate leaders have signaled their intent to link aid to multiple national security goals. The strategy reflects the growing urgency surrounding the war in Ukraine and the sudden outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas.
They are seeking a major aid package despite objections from House Republicans, where most GOP members enthusiastically support arming Israel with weapons to fight Hamas, but have resented continuing to send military aid to Ukraine to fight Russian aggression.
Last month, a majority of House Republicans voted against continuing a $300 million program to train and equip Ukrainian fighters. While the measure ultimately passed with Democratic support, the vote reflected waning support in the Republican Party for aid to Ukraine. Some GOP lawmakers argue that would divert money from domestic security concerns and could bring the United States closer to direct confrontation with Russia.
Republicans in both the Senate and the House of Representatives have insisted they will need concessions from Democrats to support additional funding for Ukraine, including tighter immigration restrictions and funding for border security. Achieving that has become easier in recent days, after the Biden administration announced it would revive construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border.
Some Republicans on Wednesday expressed cautious support for the idea of a combined national security package.
“From what I know generally, I would be inclined to assume that part of border security is real border security,” Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota, told reporters Wednesday.
But it’s unclear how quickly Congress could pass such legislation. Legislative activity in the House has stalled for more than two weeks as Republican lawmakers scramble to elect a president.
In the Senate, however, leaders are promising to move quickly on the measure.
“I asked Secretary Austin when he needed funding for our ongoing efforts. His answer was crystal clear: yesterday,” Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, told reporters after a secret Capitol briefing with Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and other top defense, diplomatic and intelligence officials.
“The Senate will not wait” to act on such requests, Schumer added. The New York Democrat previously said he intends to put an emergency national security spending package on the Senate floor within weeks.