United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken argued before Congress on Tuesday that the country should immediately send aid to Israel and Ukraine, at a time when the government’s request to send $105 billions of dollars in aid is running afoul of a divided legislature.
The officials testified before a largely sympathetic audience in the Senate, as most Democrats and many Republicans support sending aid to both countries. But the idea faces greater opposition in the House of Representatives, where Republicans are in the majority and where incumbent Mike Johnson has proposed cutting aid to Ukraine and focusing only on Israel, and reducing funding to IRS, the US tax agency, to pay. this.
With Americans divided, Blinken and Austin told senators that strong support for foreign aid would send a message to adversaries about America’s strength.
“We’re now at a moment where a lot of people are betting again that the American people are too divided to stay the course,” Blinken said. “That’s what’s at stake”.
Austin stated that if the United States does not exercise leadership, “the costs and threats to the United States will only increase. We must not give our friends, our rivals or our enemies reason to doubt America’s commitment. ”
The two secretaries were interrupted several times by protesters calling for an end to Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip, shouting “Cease fire now!” and “Save the children of Gaza!” The hearing was temporarily suspended while the police removed them from the court.
Biden requested $14.3 billion for Israel, $61.4 billion for Ukraine and to replenish Pentagon weapons shipments, $9.1 billion for humanitarian efforts in Gaza, Israel, Ukraine and elsewhere, and $7.4 billion for Indo -Pacific region where the United States is trying to counter China’s influence. The White House also requested approximately $14 billion to secure the border, including increasing the number of border agents, installing fentanyl detection machines and increasing processing applications. staff asylum.
A smaller House proposal, about $14.5 billion, faced immediate opposition from Senate Democrats, and pressured Republicans in the upper chamber who support aid to Ukraine but are aware of concerns within the his party. The diverging strategies portend a lot of trouble as the two countries are embroiled in conflicts that President Joe Biden and several US lawmakers say will have far-reaching consequences for the entire world.