Speaker of the House Mike Johnson recently took a big step away from the Uniparty, Establishment consensus on the Ukraine war effort and toward what many GOP voters want on the issue, which is for the US to start taking a more critical eye to how much aid it sends Ukraine’s way and consider slowing or stopping further provision of aid to the country and its war effort.
He did so by, much to the dismay of the generally war hawkish Senate, decoupling Israel and Ukraine aid, meaning that billions more for the Ukrainians won’t pass just because the legislature is currently in favor of sending even more money Israel’s way.
Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio, a Trump-endorsed legislator who so far seems generally committed to the MAGA worldview and agenda, praised Speaker Johnson’s move in a post on X, saying, “This is a big deal. Credit to the new speaker for showing real leadership here.”
This is a big deal.
Credit to the new speaker for showing real leadership here. https://t.co/ocDF0nY5oF
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) October 30, 2023
Separately, Sen. Vance noted that America no longer has the industrial base to fund and provide supplies to wars around the world, so it needs to stick to only helping those allies with a fighting chance and which are actually allies, rather than just cause celebres, saying “We don’t have enough [industrial base] capacity to support a three-front war. We’ve got to focus, and I think we should be focusing on Israel and Taiwan,”
The Biden White House, for its part, claimed that the Israel and Ukraine funding is inextricably linked, with White HOuse Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates saying, “Like President Biden said when he addressed the nation from the Oval Office, Hamas and Putin both want to viciously annihilate a neighboring democracy. In fact, Russian officials met with Hamas representatives in Moscow just this week.”
Bates continued, “For American national security, it is critical to stand with Israel as they defend themselves against Hamas terrorists who unleashed pure evil on October 7th; and to stand with Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russian brutality — carried out in part with Iranian weapons — and Russia’s kidnapping of Ukrainian children.”
Similarly, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre accused Republicans of “politicizing our national security,” saying, “Politicizing our national security interests is a nonstarter. Demanding offsets for meeting core national security needs of the United States—like supporting Israel and defending Ukraine from atrocities and Russian imperialism—would be a break with the normal, bipartisan process and could have devastating implications for our safety and alliances in the years ahead. There is strong bipartisan agreement that humanitarian aid is critical to stopping the suffering of innocent people in Gaza, which is in our direct national security interest.”
She continued, “There is strong bipartisan agreement that it is in our direct national security interest to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty against appalling crimes being committed by Russian forces against thousands of innocent civilians—including attacking them with Iranian weapons. Those atrocities include the hideous use of rape as a weapon and the kidnapping and forced deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children. There is also strong bipartisan support for investing more in border security—including technology to detect fentanyl and hiring more CBP officers—as the President called for. Threatening to undermine American national security unless House Republicans can help the wealthy and big corporations cheat on their taxes—which would increase the deficit—is the definition of backwards. Playing political games that threaten the source of funding for Israel’s self-defense—now and into the future—would set an unacceptable precedent that calls our commitment to one of our closest allies into question. We cannot afford to jeopardize that commitment as Israel defends itself from the evil unleashed by Hamas.“
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