Biden calls for more US military funding for Ukraine and Israel in his Oval Office speech

President Joe Biden speaks from the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday.  August 19, 2023, in Washington, about the war in Israel and Ukraine.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

Biden calls for more US military funding for Ukraine and Israel in his Oval Office speech

Ukraine

Courtney Subramanian

Oct. 19, 2023

President Biden used a rare Oval Office speech on Thursday to urge Americans to support more military funding for Israel in the wake of a deadly Hamas attack and more aid for Ukraine in its long war against Russia.

“I know these conflicts can seem far away, and it’s natural to ask why does this matter to America?” Biden said in his speech, adding that Israel and Ukraine’s success is “critical to America’s national security.”

The speech was only the second Biden delivered from behind the Resolute Desk during his presidency. On Friday

,

The White House is expected to formally request $100 billion in emergency aid from Congress in the coming year to increase aid to war-torn countries. The request is also expected to include money for Taiwan

and the

US border with Mexico.

Biden traveled to Tel Aviv this week, where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss Israel’s military campaign against Hamas and push for more humanitarian aid for civilians caught in the crossfire in the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Israel. The need for humanitarian aid in Gaza. Russia’s ongoing brutal war against Ukraine,” Biden said in a social media post previewing the speech. “We are at a global turning point that is bigger than party or politics.”

The president sought to connect the foreign conflicts as part of a broader threat to U.S. national security and global stability.

“If terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror, if dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they will cause more chaos and death, and more destruction,” he said in his speech. “They continue, and the costs and threats to America and the world continue to rise.”

But he faces an uphill battle in Congress, where progressive Democrats have spoken out against sending more weapons to Israel

Right-wing Republicans have questioned continued military aid to Ukraine.

In August, the White House requested $24 billion in aid for Ukraine as part of an additional funding request, but this provision was left out of a short-term spending measure despite

an appearance

of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

at the US Capitol.

Ahead of the speech, Biden spoke with Zelensky to underscore “continued strong bipartisan support” for Kiev, according to

a

White House

reading the telephone conversation

. But US public support for supplying weapons to Ukraine has waned, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll published in October. 5. The survey found that 41% of respondents agreed that Washington should supply weapons to Ukraine, compared to 35% who disagreed. In May, 46% of respondents said the US should send weapons to Ukraine, compared to 29% who were opposed.

According to the report, the US has provided more than $75 billion in military, humanitarian and financial assistance to Ukraine to date

the Kiel Institute for the World Economy

.

House Republicans’ inability to elect a new speaker to replace ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) has also halted Congress, limiting the lower chamber’s ability to act on any request from the president will be limited.

Biden

arrived in Tel Aviv on Wednesday,

hours after a massive explosion at a hospital in the Gaza Strip killed hundreds of people, prompting Israel and the Hamas-led Health Ministry to blame the opposing side for the devastating attack. The president reiterated in his Oval Office speech that he agrees with the Israeli version of events. Biden initially planned to travel to Amman, Jordan, to meet with leaders from Israel, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, which has no ruling position in Gaza but oversees the greater West Bank. The meeting was canceled before Biden’s plane left Washington. During his trip to Israel, Biden pledged to help restore the beleaguered country as a “safe place for the Jewish people.” “And I promise you: we are going to do everything in our power to ensure that it will be so,” he said in a speech after a meeting with Netanyahu and his war cabinet. But Biden warned Israelis not to be “consumed by anger,” using the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US as a cautionary tale, noting that while the United States sought and found justice, it also made mistakes. Since the conflict began in October, more than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel and 3,400 in Gaza. 7 with the surprising invasion of Hamas on the Israeli border.

In Biden’s only other Oval Office speech, in June, he made comments after reaching a deal with then-Speaker McCarthy to avoid defaulting on the national debt, a deal that was rescinded months later by House Republicans was deleted.

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