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Congressional leaders want to pass military aid for Ukraine, Israel before Christmas

by Dominic Culverwell November 20, 2023 12:36 AM 2 min read
House Chamber at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Jan. 3, 2021. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
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U.S Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he will prioritize passing further military aid packages for Ukraine and Israel so that they are approved before Christmas, NBC News reported on Nov. 19.

President Joe Biden previously asked Congress to approve a new $106 billion aid package, including more than $61 billion in funding for aid to Ukraine.

Republicans in Congress have threatened to block the aid unless there were security resolutions on the southern border of the U.S., leading to a standoff between the two parties.

To avoid a government shut down, Biden signed a temporary spending bill into law on Nov. 16, but the issue of continued aid for Ukraine was left unaddressed.

Schumer, a Democrat, said that American lawmakers will begin work on an immigration package to bolster resources for border security, in addition to aid for Ukraine and Israel.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, a Republican and strong supporter of Ukraine, has made repeated contact with the new House Speaker Mike Johnson over the aid packages.

McCaul has received numerous calls from Ukrainian and Israeli leaders worried that the aid may never arrive, a committee source told NBC News.

The window between Thanksgiving and Christmas is crucial, four Senate sources told NBC. If a solution is not found by the New Year, both Democrats and Republicans are concerned that the possibility of passing packages to Israel, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific, and border security forces will drop drastically.

“My best guess is Israel is passed as stand-alone, and Ukraine is done in tandem with progress on the border,” a Republican lawmaker said.

Johnson previously suggested a standalone funding package for Israel only, but it was rejected by Biden and Democrats out of hand.

Schumer said at a press conference on Nov. 14 that Congress would reconvene after Thanksgiving on Nov. 23 in order to try and pass a joint funding bill that contains aid for all four issues.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Nov. 13 that "the window is closing" for the U.S. to provide aid for Ukraine before there are serious consequences for Ukraine's ability to defend itself.

Borrell: US support for Ukraine will ‘most likely’ decrease, EU should be ready
The EU has the necessary means to continue supporting Ukraine, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said, but it should be prepared for the likelihood that the U.S. may not sustain its contribution at current levels.
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