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Congress wants an aid package for Israel, but progress may be slow

Congress plans to weigh a new supplementary aid package that will provide support for both Israel and Ukraine.
Congress wants an aid package for Israel, but progress may be slow
Posted at 10:38 PM, Oct 16, 2023

The U.S. Senate is back in session this week.

On the top of their to-do list is a supplemental aid package to support Israel and Ukraine as bloody wars rage in both countries.

"We will work with the Israeli government and the Biden administration to assemble the most generous aid package possible," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, while speaking to reporters in Tel Aviv. 

Flanked by a bipartisan group of senators, Schumer said he had talked with Israeli leaders about their needs, including replacement ammunition for the country's Iron Dome missile defense system and precision-guided bombs.

He vowed to put that aid package to a floor vote in the coming weeks.

Schumer didn't mention Ukraine when speaking about the aid package. But National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan did during a weekend interview with "Face the Nation."

"The president has made clear that he is going to go to Congress with a package for funding for Ukraine as well as continued support for Israel," Sullivan said. "You can expect intensive engagement with Congress this very week as we work on such a package and seek to secure bipartisan support for it."

SEE MORE: Humanitarian aid stuck at Gaza border as hospitals face collapse

But there are roadblocks standing in the way.

Legislative activity in the House is all but dead ever since the ousting of Kevin McCarthy as speaker. Any action in the chamber is on hold until a new speaker takes up the gavel.

And even then, it is unclear if an aid package sending aid to both countries would receive enough support.

Still, President Biden has insisted the U.S. has the capacity to support both Ukraine and Israel — and an obligation to do so.

That is a sentiment echoed by the woman overseeing the U.S.' purse strings — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

"I think the answer is absolutely. America can certainly afford to stand with Israel and to support Israel's military needs. And we also can and must support Ukraine in its struggle against Russia," Yellen said.

SEE MORE: President Biden to visit Israel on Wednesday, State Department says


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