Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Senate Democrats on Nov. 7 blocked a Republican-led bill that would provide standalone aid to Israel.
Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Ky.) and other Republican senators called for quick passage of legislation recently approved in a bipartisan U.S. House of Representatives vote. The bill would give Israel $14 billion in the wake of it being invaded by the Hamas terrorist group.
"A timely military aid package with a unified voice from Congress showing support for Israel will not only add to Israel’s stability, it will slow down and hopefully stop the evil plots of Hamas, Iran, and its proxies," Dr. Marshall said on the Senate floor.
He emphasized that the level of funding is the same level in President Joe Biden's October funding request.
President Biden's request, though, also included additional money for Ukraine.
"Our allies in Ukraine can no more afford a delay than our allies in Israel," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said on the floor in Washington.
"There is strong support here in Congress to address these urgent priorities in one package—and that is exactly what I am working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do now," she added later.
Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), a supporter of the House-passed package, argued that funding for Ukraine and Israel should not be tied together.
“The idea that these policies are not in tension with one another, the idea that what happens in Russia and Ukraine is separate from what happens in Israel is not just obvious, it is common sense, and it has been borne out by the reality of the last couple of weeks," Mr. Vance said on the floor. "Now, my colleagues would like to collapse these packages. Too many of my colleagues would like to collapse these packages because they would like to use Israel as a political fig leaf for the President’s Ukraine policy."
He questioned what the end goal is in Ukraine, noting the United States has already sent more than $100 billion to the country following the Russian invasion.
The supplemental funding package crafted by the House includes $4 billion for Israel's defense systems, including the Iron Dome, as well as additional funds for replenishing stockpiles, procuring ammunition, and obtaining weapons.
The bill would also cut the same amount that would be sent to Israel from the IRS, prompting criticism from some Democrats.
But Senate Democrats primarily focused on the lack of funding for Ukraine.
“The House Republican messaging bill represents a misguided attempt to deny needed assistance to Ukraine. It’s not really about helping Israel. It’s about failing to keep our commitments to Ukraine," Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said.
He claimed that without more funding for Ukraine, China would receive the message that "you can attack, wait the West out, and eventually they'll concede."
“At this moment of danger and peril around the world, we, the United States, must support our friends and democracies that are under attack from brutal adversaries," Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said. "That means ensuring that Israel has the right to defend itself in the aftermath of the brutal October 7 attack of Hamas. It also means ensuring that the people of Ukraine defend themselves against Putin from Russia. This proposal on the floor today is tantamount to surrendering to Putin’s aggression. This is waving a white flag.”
After Democrats blocked the bill, Dr. Marshall decried the move.
"Democrats turned a bipartisan opportunity to help our closest ally in the Middle East into political showmanship by using the tragedy unfolding in Israel to demand another blank check for Ukraine," he said in a statement.
Some Senate Republicans had also voiced concern about only aiding Israel.
"The Senate will soon take up a supplemental spending bill to address defense issues and any such bill should promote security abroad by providing support for our allies—specifically right now: Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan," Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the Senate minority whip, said this week.
President Biden had said that he would veto any supplemental spending packages Congress passed if they did not feature additional money for Ukraine.
“The president would veto an only-Israel bill. I think we’ve made that pretty clear," John Kirby, a White House spokesperson, told reporters at the White House.
New House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has defended the package, saying lawmakers were "trying to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ resources" by offsetting the aid with cuts to the government.
Mr. Johnson also said that aid to Ukraine should be taken up separately.
That aid should be linked with more funding for security at the U.S.–Mexico border, Mr. Johnson has said.
“When you couple Ukraine and the border, that makes sense to people because they say if we’re going to protect Ukraine’s border … we have to take care of our own border first," he said on Fox News.