100 Billion Dollar Aid Package


By Joseph Carr

On Thursday, October 19th President Biden gave an Oval Office speech to address the terrorist attacks in Israel as well as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He liked Hamas and President Putin in that “…They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy.”. President Biden called this moment an inflection point in American leadership at a time when countries such as China and Russia seek to change the current world order. To combat this inflection point, the Biden administration is seeking an approximately $100 billion aid package to address growing Chinese influence in Southeast Asia, border security at home, bolster Israel’s Iron Dome, and most notably aid Ukraine in the war in Eastern Europe. President Biden emphasized his belief that security investments in Ukraine and Israel will pay dividends to the national security of America.[1]

As of September 21, the U.S. had given a total of 76.8 billion dollars in aid to Ukraine. This is the first time since the Truman administration that a European country has held the top stop in annual U.S. aid.[2] This aid greatly enabled the success of the 2022 counter-offensive by the Ukrainian military which regained territory in the Northwestern portion of Kherson and areas in the East of Ukraine near Kharkiv. This counter-offensive showed Ukrainian partners that aid could translate to success on the battlefield and even prompted President Putin to roll out the conscription of hundreds of thousands of soldiers.[3] This success brought further aid to Ukraine’s 2023 offensive which has seen some success on the eastern front, the eastern bank of the Dnieper River, and the Zaporizhzhia Oblast though not nearly as successful as the year prior. Casualty rates are currently spiking in the conflict as Russia continues its offensive near Avdiivka. Though the tactics have been largely costly and ineffective, Russia appears to be circling the city while some 1,000 residents remain.[4] Some of the most notable and successful weapon systems sent have been the HIMARS, over 10,000 Javelin anti-armor systems, 105 and 155mm Howitzers with munitions, and hundreds of armored vehicles.[5] After President Biden’s address, he called Ukrainian Zelensky to ensure aid would continue to Ukraine as the Israel-Hamas war heats up. President Biden is seeking nearly 61 billion dollars in aid for Ukraine as opposed to the multiple smaller aid packages the U.S. has been providing since the war.[6]

Now, another conflict has gripped the world’s attention. Approximately 1,000 miles South of Ukraine, the U.S. has positioned two carrier groups near Israel to deter another adversary from exploiting this moment against Israel. This comes in response to the brutal terrorist attacks that Hamas carried out on October 7th. The Biden administration is seeking 14 billion dollars in aid for Israel with the greater aim of this package to bolster the famed Iron Dome air defense system. The aid package also calls for 100 million dollars in aid to help Gazan civilians, many of whom are now displaced and facing drastic food and water security.[7] Both conflicts have reinvigorated NATO and Western allies with the EU matching the U.S. in aid to Ukraine as well as being vocal and supportive of Israel after the brutal surprise attack on October 7th. Despite this, the U.S. Congress is divided on security aid packages. According to the Washington Post, many Congressional Republicans oppose continuing to send large amounts of aid to Kyiv. Also, many GOP senators are publicly stating they oppose the linking of aid for Israel and Ukraine. In contrast to their views on Ukraine, many Republicans think that the administration is not aiding Israel quickly enough while some of the more liberal wing of the democratic party calls for a ceasefire and aid for Palestinians[8].

All this comes at a time when the House of Representatives is in disarray. Former House leader Rep. McCarthy, R-CA was ousted by the right wing of the House GOP and took weeks to secure his replacement in Rep. Johnson, R-LA. Democrats were hoping for a more moderate Republican and nearly found it Rep. Emmer, R-MN, but now will need to work with the self-proclaimed ‘full-spectrum conservative” in Johnson.[9] Though, there may be a glimmer of hope for Biden’s aid package. Johnson has publicly stated that Vladimir Putin must be stopped however time will tell in the coming weeks if Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration can get the aid package through in one piece or if Congressional Republicans pick it apart.

[1] Lati, M., & Abutaleb, Y. (2023a, October 20). Biden urges help for Israel and Ukraine in high-stakes oval office speech. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/10/19/biden-speech-israel-ukraine/  

[2] Masters, J., & Merrow, W. (2023, September 21). How much aid has the U.S. sent Ukraine? here are six charts. Council on Foreign Relations. https://www.cfr.org/article/how-much-aid-has-us-sent-ukraine-here-are-six-charts 

[3] Khurshudyan, I., Sonne, P., Morgunov, S., & Hrabchuk, K. (2022, December 29). Inside the Ukrainian counteroffensive that shocked Putin and reshaped the war. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/12/29/ukraine-offensive-kharkiv-kherson-donetsk/

[4] Reevell, P. (2023, October 23). Russia taking heavy losses as it wages new offensive in Ukraine. ABC News. https://abcnews.go.com/International/russia-taking-heavy-losses-wages-new-offensive-ukraine/story?id=104206675

[5] Masters, J., & Merrow, W. (2023, September 21)

[6] Stein, J., & Bogage, J. (2023, October 20). As 2024 looms, Biden unveils $106 billion foreign aid package. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/10/20/ukraine-israel-funding-politics/

[7] Stein, J., & Bogage, J. (2023, October 20). As 2024 looms, Biden unveils $106 billion foreign aid package. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/10/20/ukraine-israel-funding-politics/  

[8] Ibid.

[9] The Economist Newspaper. (2023, October 26). America’s House of Representatives finally has a speaker. The Economist. https://www.economist.com/united-states/2023/10/26/americas-house-of-representatives-finally-has-a-speaker