Biden seeks $105 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, border security

The Biden administration on Friday requested more than $105 billion from Congress to support the security needs of Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and the US southern border.

President Joe Biden’s biggest request in the package is more than $61 billion for the Ukraine. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the US has unleashed an arsenal worth $44 billion in security assistance, according to figures provided by the State Department.

It also calls for an additional $14.3 billion for Israel, another $2 billion for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific security, and just over $9 billion for humanitarian aid.

Israel is at war with Hamas after the militant group launched a shocking and brutal terrorist attack on October 7. Meanwhile, tensions are rising over Taiwan, which China claims as its own.

The White House said the additional funding request invests about $50 billion in the U.S. defense industry.

“The funding will expand production lines, strengthen the American economy, keep us safe and create new American jobs,” Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said Friday.

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The request comes as work in Congress is deadlocked as the House GOP remains divided over who should be speaker. Far-right Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio is pushing for a third vote after twice failing to secure the gavel.

In addition, the White House is seeking $6.4 billion for border operations, pushing Republicans who have criticized him for not doing enough to address immigration from Latin America. The request also includes about $1.2 billion for efforts aimed at addressing fentanyl, which has caused a wave of fatal overdoses in the United States.

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Young blamed Congress for insufficient resources on the US southern border.

“Some in Congress have talked a lot about doing something about border security while refusing to accept the $4 billion request that we sent to Congress in August,” Young said.

“Those who refuse to act will not lecture us. As we have said repeatedly, Congress must take action to provide adequate resources for the border,” he added.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan described the budget request as a reflection of US leadership on the world stage.

“This budget request is critical to advancing America’s national security and ensuring the safety of the American people,” Sullivan said, adding that “the world is watching closely what Congress does next.”

In a rare prime-time speech Thursday afternoon from the Oval Office, Biden previewed the funding request, calling it a “smart investment that will pay dividends in American security for generations.”

Biden said the additional funding for the Israeli and Ukrainian war efforts “will help us keep American troops out of harm’s way, help us build a safer, more peaceful and more prosperous world for children and our grandchildren”.

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