Biden has prepared a $100 billion foreign aid package, including money for Israel and Ukraine
The Biden administration is drafting a $100 billion foreign aid package that includes aid for Israel as well as other top security priorities, according to two people familiar with the details.
Details regarding the spending request are still being worked out ahead of the formal request the White House sent to Congress this week.
One person told ABC News that the “bulk” of the aid would likely go to Ukraine, while others also said it included $10 billion for Israel. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details that the White House has not yet announced.
The request comes as President Joe Biden travels to Israel in a show of unity with the Jewish state in the wake of the brutal October 7 attack on civilians by Hamas terrorists from Gaza.
On Capitol Hill, Senate leaders indicated Tuesday that this sweeping aid package would find support among lawmakers.
“We would like to get the supplemental package moving as quickly as possible because the needs are great in both Israel and Ukraine,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he would support pooling aid for Ukraine and Israel, and he expected the administration to allocate money for border security as well.
“The border part of it needs to be credible, not just a reference to it but a credible agreement,” he told reporters.
Bloomberg He was the first to announce a total of $100 billion.
The aid proposal to Israel comes after intense discussions between the two countries, as Israel appears to be choosing – at least for the time being – not to carry out a large-scale ground invasion of Gaza, even as international groups accuse Israel of exacerbating the humanitarian crisis by not allowing food or supplies. Water to Gaza and electricity cuts.
Behind closed doors, Biden officials have become deeply concerned about hardliners inside Israel who are pushing for a scorched-earth military response that will not do enough to prevent civilian casualties, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity. At one point this week, his aides believed that only the president himself could convince officials there that allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza would be in their country’s best security interests.
When asked about those discussions, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said they do not tell the IDF how to operate and that civilians must be protected. At the same time, he added, following the law of war is crucial and something Biden has pressured Israel for.
Almost from the beginning, we’ve been talking about how important it is for democracies, like Israel and the United States, to defend the law of war, and to respect the lives of innocent civilians, unlike Hamas. “This is a staple of the discussions we’ve had with the Israelis forever, and we will continue to do so in the future,” Kirby told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
After lengthy meetings earlier this week between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Israeli counterpart, the two allies appear to have reached some sort of consensus. Details of the aid package are now being circulated among US officials while Biden is on his way to the region.
Budget experts say Israel’s aid needs are unlikely to be urgent because of the 2016 agreement that provides Israel $3.8 billion annually over 10 years. More pressing, they say, is Ukraine, which has exhausted its long-term funding as it seeks to fend off Russia.
Some House Republicans questioned the need for more US aid to Ukraine. By tying aid to Ukraine and Israel into one legislative package, the White House will make it difficult for GOP hardliners — loyal allies of Israel — to reject the package.
Pro-Israel groups have also called on Biden to include at least $500 million in grant funding for Jewish communities in the United States to protect synagogues and other community sites due to threats. It was not immediately clear whether this request was part of Biden’s aid package as of Tuesday.
ABC’s Chief World Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz and ABC’s Justin Gomez and Shannon Crawford contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com