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McConnell Supports Biden’s Aid Request of $106 Billion for Israel and Ukraine

The Senate Minority Leader from the Republican Party acknowledges common ground with the President in their support for both the Israel and Ukraine conflicts.

Senator Mitch McConnell speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Source : Shutterstock/Christopher Halloran

On Sunday, Mitch McConnell showed his immense support for the aid proposal of 106 billion dollars to Ukraine and Israel. He also mentioned that both he and the president were on the same stance on this matter.

Aid Breakdown and Political Disagreements

During the interview with the most decisive Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnel stated that some of his GPO colleagues wanted to split the aid packaging for Israel and Ukraine. He also mentioned in an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation that this step would be a big ”mistake” according to him.

He showed strong affirmation of the aid proposal to the White House, totaling $106 billion. The aid includes $14 billion for Israel, $60 billion for Ukraine, and an extra $14 billion to bolster security along the US-Mexico border. Furthermore, $7 billion is allocated to the Indio-Pacific region, with an extra $10 billion assigned for humanitarian relief.

The Debate Over Linking Aid for Israel and Ukraine

On Thursday, a group of nine Republican senators sent a letter to McConnell, emphasizing their view that assistance for Ukraine and aid for Israel should not be linked together. They contended that these are two separate conflicts and expressed their concern that leveraging support for Israeli aid to gain additional aid for Ukraine would be an inappropriate approach.

McConnell’s Perspective and Defense of the Aid

On Sunday, McConnell dismissed that perspective.

During the interview, he expressed his belief that all aspects of the issue were interconnected. 

He elaborated by explaining that when looking at the assistance provided to Ukraine, a significant portion of the funds is allocated to 38 different states in the United States. These funds are used to replace the weapons sent to Ukraine with more advanced ones, effectively contributing to the rebuilding of the United States’ industrial capacity.

McConnell commented saying,

“There are no American casualties in Ukraine. We’re revitalizing our industrial capabilities. The Ukrainians are dismantling the military of one of our major adversaries. I struggle to identify any issues with this situation. I find it commendable that they are standing up to defend themselves.”

McConnell also had the following to say when questioned about his support for Ukraine’s Defense Efforts,

“No Americans are losing their lives in Ukraine. We are strengthening our industrial infrastructure. The Ukrainians are weakening the military of one of our major adversaries. I could not find any fault in that. I believe it’s commendable how they are defending themselves.”

President Biden’s Address and International Implications

On Thursday, President Biden addressed the nation, presenting his case for the interconnected nature of the two issues. He emphasized that the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, and Hamas represent distinct threats. Yet, he underscored a shared objective between them: the destruction of a neighboring democracy.

If we do nothing and allow Putin to take Ukraine’s independence, it could encourage other aggressors worldwide to do the same. Conflict and upheaval may spread to other regions globally, such as the Indo-Pacific and especially the Middle East.

Antony Blinken’s Announcement on Gaza’s Water Supply

Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State, said Israel gave back some water to Gaza on Sunday.

They also verified that in case of any hostilities targeting American personnel or armed forces, the Biden administration is prepared to retaliate. Their top diplomat stated in an interview that one of their pipelines was restored a week ago. Additionally, they plan to restore their other pipelines.

Blinken also highlighted that 20 trucks got access to enter Gaza to deliver clean water. He expressed his hope that more such deliveries would be initiated as early as today.

He also clarified,

“We do have concerns about the possibility of disease spreading as a result of people consuming contaminated water, but this is an ongoing effort. We are actively monitoring this matter.”

Blinken’s Comments on Israel’s Intentions

Blinken also said Israel had zero intention of governing Gaza for an extended period following the war.

During an interview with NBC, he said that Israel cannot return to the previous status quo,

“I’ve learned from the Israelis that they have no intention, no desire to govern Gaza themselves at the same time.

Decades ago, they withdrew from Gaza unilaterally and without conditions. However, they cannot remain in a situation where they face a constant threat of severe terrorist attacks originating from Gaza.

Therefore, there is a need to find a solution that prevents Hamas from repeating such actions while there is no intention of Israel to revert to the governance of Gaza.”

McConnell’s Refusal to Support Jack Lew as Ambassador to Israel

Although McConnell endorsed Biden’s aid plan and refrained from supporting Jack Lew as ambassador to Israel. Also, he faced resistance from Republicans. McConnell said, “He’s a very controversial nominee because he’s connected to the Iran nuclear deal, which my party didn’t support.”

McConnell’s Health and Political Concerns

The 81-year-old senator ignored a question about his health from CBS’s Margaret Brennan. He had trouble speaking in public before, but he thinks more information should be kept private. He replied, “I’m fit, completely healed, and have returned to work.” Additionally, he expressed his “concern” about the growing threats of violence that members of Congress have been facing.

The Urgency of Choosing a New House Speaker

McConnell stressed the need to choose a new House speaker by November 17, when government funding ends. He also stated, “We need a speaker immediately because we cannot do anything without one.” He expressed hope that this matter will receive a prompt solution.

US Defense Secretary Austin and Secretary of State Blinken stated that Iran’s involvement may escalate the conflict between Israel and Hamas. This implies that Iran’s participation has the potential to cause more strife and tension in the region. The Biden administration is prepared to react if their American personnel or armed forces are attacked.

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