US President Joe Biden has submitted a request to Congress for more than $105bn to provide humanitarian and military aid to Israel and Ukraine, humanitarian assistance for Gaza and for immigration enforcement on the United States border with Mexico.
The White House issued the funding request on Friday, following a speech from Biden the day before in which he argued that US security is connected to the success of Ukraine and Israel.
“This budget request is critical to advancing America’s national security and ensuring the safety of the American people,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Friday, echoing comments from Biden’s speech.
The comments come as Israel continues to bombard the beseiged Gaza Strip in response to a Hamas attack in southern Israel that killed at least 1,400 people, according to Israeli officials.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health has said that 4,137 people have been killed in the Israeli bombardment, and humanitarian conditions in Gaza have reached critical levels as medical workers plead for fuel and assistance that has yet to materialise.
The Israeli campaign has sparked protests across the Middle East region, and critics have accused the US of turning a blind eye to violations of international law.
Biden’s request also faces complex political circumstances in Washington, where Republicans in the House of Representatives have struggled for more than two weeks to select a candidate for the vital role of House speaker.
Some in the Republican Party have also mounted resistance to further US assistance to Ukraine, a dilemma Biden may hope to bypass by attaching Ukrainian aid to support for Israel and US border enforcement with Mexico, both important issues for the conservative party.
The largest part of the spending package is dedicated to Ukraine, with more than $61bn for that purpose. More than $14bn would go towards Israel, much of it for the country’s air defence system known as “the Iron Dome” and other weapons purchases.
More than $9bn would be set aside for humanitarian assistance in Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza, and nearly $14bn would go towards US border enforcement.
“The world is watching and the American people rightly expect their leaders to come together and deliver on these priorities,” said Biden’s budget director, Shalanda Young, in a letter to interim House Speaker Patrick McHenry. “I urge Congress to address them as part of a comprehensive, bipartisan agreement in the weeks ahead.”
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies