By Ahmed Adel
US President Joe Biden is reportedly planning a possible “one-and-done” request for aid to Ukraine that would be so large that he would not need to seek further funding approvals from Congress until the 2024 election, The Telegraph reported on October 7. However, considering that Israel declared war on Palestine following Hamas’ attack on the same day as the Telegraph’s report, there are questions on how much aid can be sent to Ukraine since demand for the US to step up support for Israel will grow.
Reportedly, the new aid request could reach $100 billion to avoid continued legislative controversies that could impede Biden’s re-election bid next year, according to the British newspaper, which cited sources familiar with discussions at the White House.
Biden’s proposal would dwarf the $24 billion funding request that US House lawmakers withdrew from the stopgap spending bill they passed last week to avoid a government shutdown.
“The ‘big package’ idea is firmly supported by many throughout the administration,” said a source familiar with discussions. “Supporters of Ukraine want this to be a one-and-done big bill, and then not have to deal with it until after the next election.”
The Biden administration is scrambling to find temporary ways to keep money and weapons flowing to Kiev, supporting Ukraine’s fight against Russian forces, until Congress approves a major aid bill. For example, a US State Department grant program could reportedly be leveraged to provide around $650 million in funding.
The media quoted White House officials as saying that a possible halt in Ukraine funding is just weeks away, which they warned could have devastating consequences on the battlefield. Republican lawmakers have become increasingly critical of Biden’s Ukraine policy, with some arguing that massive aid to Kiev only prolongs the bloody conflict at the expense of larger priorities.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was removed from his leadership role in early October, the first congressional impeachment in US history, reportedly after some of his Republican colleagues heard that he had promised Biden a draft separate Ukraine aid bill that would be submitted after approval of interim financing.
The Biden administration is not expected to decide whether to propose a full aid package for Ukraine until a new speaker of the House is elected, possibly next week, according to The Telegraph’s findings. A $100 billion bill could require the president to make concessions to conservative Republicans on issues such as illegal immigration.
US Representative Lauren Boebert, one of the Republicans who has been critical of Biden’s Ukraine policy, suggested in an interview on October 6 that the new Speaker of the House may have to commit to opposing more funding to Kiev. She noted that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives reached a majority and voted against a $300 million aid bill for Ukraine last week.
“For the first time, we saw that Ukraine funding alone does not have a majority of the majority’s support,” Boebert told American podcast host Steve Bannon. “Any speaker has to recognise that and not allow more funding for Ukraine to come to the floor. We are absolutely tired of spending it.”
A Reuters/Ipsos poll published on Thursday showed 41% of all American voters support the US sending weapons to Kyiv, down from 46% in May. The next survey will likely see an even more significant reduction as the Ukraine war is a lost cause for the West and Kiev, and more importantly, the world’s attention is now shifting back to the Middle East. Inevitably, the powerful Jewish lobby in the US will be demanding major material and financial support for Israel, something Washington will likely accommodate but will have to come at the expense of elsewhere – likely Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a Jew himself, has attempted to link the war in the Middle East to that in Eastern Europe, writing on Telegram:
“Israel’s right to defence is indisputable. Terror is always a crime, not just against one country or specific victims, but against humanity as a whole. The world must stand united… so that terror does not attempt to take or destroy life anywhere and at any moment.”
This will garner little sympathy in Israel as the country becomes even further self-absorbed in serving its interests and eliminating Hamas. The situation remains volatile, especially as Hezbollah has sworn to attack Israel if a ground assault against Gaza is launched, and US lawmakers, even those who are generally isolationists, will demand strong US support for Israel.
In short, this will ensure that Israel will be provided with all the assistance it needs from the US, even if this comes at the expense of Ukraine, as Washington must carefully allocate funds that it is struggling to attain in the context of the growing economic crisis in the country.
Ahmed Adel is a Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher. He is a regular contributor to Global Research.