Top military leaders are facing Congress over the Pentagon budget and support for Israel and Ukraine

(Michael Probst/Associated Press)

Top military leaders are facing Congress over the Pentagon budget and support for Israel and Ukraine

Israel-Hamas, Ukraine

Tara Copp and Lolita C. Baldor

April 9, 2024

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. CQ Brown Jr. testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday about the Pentagon’s $850

billion for 2025, as questions remained about whether the legislation will support current spending needs for Israel or Ukraine.

The Senate hearing marked the first time lawmakers on both sides were able to question the Pentagon’s top civilian and military leadership over the Israeli government’s strategy following Tel Aviv’s deadly attack on World Central Kitchen humanitarian workers in Gaza. It also follows continued desperate pleas from Ukraine


resident Volodymyr Zelensky


that if the US does not help soon, Kiev will lose the war to Russia.

In their opening statements, both Austin and Brown emphasized that their 2025 budgets are still shaped with the military’s long-term strategic goal in mind to ready troops and weapons for a possible future conflict with China. About $100 billion of this year’s request is earmarked for new space, nuclear weapons and cyberwarfare systems, which the military says it must invest now before Beijing’s capabilities surpass them.

But the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel pose a major challenge

divided Congress and resulted in months of delays in passing last year’s defense budget


adopted by lawmakers


a few weeks ago.

Biden and party leaders plead with Speaker Johnson to help Ukraine during ‘intense’ Oval Office meeting

Austin’s opening statement was temporarily interrupted by protesters who raised a Palestinian flag and shouted at him to stop sending weapons to Israel. Stop the genocide, they said, raising their red hands in the air.

The Pentagon has collected about $300 million in munitions to send to Kiev in March, but cannot send more without support from Congress, and another $60 in munitions.

billions in additional legislation that would fund these efforts has been stalled for months.

The price for American leadership is real. But it is far less than the price of an American abdication, Austin told senators.

If Kiev falls, it could endanger Ukraine’s Baltic neighbors and potentially drag U.S. troops into a protracted European war. When millions die in Gaza

because because of

Through famine, this could infuriate Israel’s Arab neighbors and lead to a much broader, deadlier conflict in the Middle East that could also damage U.S. forces and U.S. relations in the region for decades.

The Pentagon has been pressing Congress for months to support new aid to Ukraine, to no avail, and has tried to walk a dangerous line between defending its ally Israel and nurturing ties with key regional Arab partners. Israel’s actions in Gaza have been used as a rallying cry by factions of Iran-backed militant groups, including the Houthis in Yemen and Islamic resistance groups in Iraq and Syria, to attack American interests. Three US soldiers have already been killed as drone and missile attacks on US bases in the region increased.

Pentagon to Give Ukraine $300 Million in Weapons

Six US military ships carrying personnel and parts for the construction of a humanitarian aid pier are also still en route to Gaza, but questions remain about how food arriving at the pier will be safely distributed in the devastated area.

Lawmakers also see demands at home. For months, a handful of far-right members have blocked Congress from approving additional money or weapons for Ukraine until domestic needs are addressed, such as curbing the flow of migrants at the southern U.S. border. Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson is already facing calls to remove him as speaker from Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene as Johnson tries to hammer out a compromise that would advance aid to Ukraine to help.

On Israel, the World Central Kitchen strike prompted a change in tone from President Biden on how Israel should protect the lives of civilians in Gaza, and from hundreds of dozens of Democrats in the House of Representatives, including the former Speaker of the House Reps. Nancy Pelosi, calling on Biden to halt arms transfers to Israel. Israel.

Half of Gaza’s population is dying and on the brink of famine

because because of

Israel’s strict restrictions on the passage of aid trucks.

Copp and Baldor write for the Associated Press.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Hot Topics

Related Articles