Senate Democrats blocked a stand-alone Israel aid package led by Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Tuesday after a lengthy debate on the chamber floor.
Marshall sought unanimous consent for the House’s version of the package, which passed the lower chamber with bipartisan support Nov. 2 and would earmark $14.3 billion reallocated from funds meant for the IRS in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. Senators Marshall, Ted Cruz, JD Vance and Mike Lee introduced the Senate version last month.
But Democrats shot down the effort because the package does not include aid to Ukraine. A handful of Republican senators argued the two emergency aid packages should be split up and voted on separately.
“Though they spend three-fourths of the time telling us why we should fund Ukraine, no one will stand up and say we should not fund Israel now,” Marshall said Tuesday in a press conference. “No one has an argument for that. They seem to be allergic to the word ‘Israel.’
“Bring the Ukraine funding to the floor. Let’s vote on that.”
From left: GOP senators Ted Cruz, JD Vance, Roger Marshall and Mike Lee(Getty Images)
Marshall has been leading the charge against President Biden’s supplemental request to fund Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and border security in one package. Instead, he’s urging senators to rescind their support for the package and focus on each issue individually.
A majority of the GOP conference favors Israeli aid but remains divided on Ukraine support. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has previously voiced his support for a combined aid package.
During Marshall’s remarks on the Senate floor requesting unanimous consent for the stand-alone legislation, he called the Ukraine conflict “a separate, unrelated conflict with no end in sight.”
Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, a Marshall ally, argued lawmakers don’t have to agree on Ukraine aid to push the Israel package on its own.
“What I find interesting about the folks who are here today is they represent a cross-section of opinion on the Ukraine question,” Vance said Tuesday. “Even Sen. Schmitt and Sen. Lee, as much as we agree, we don’t agree on every single permutation of how we address the Ukraine situation. What we do all agree on, though, is that the American people deserve a separate debate.”
Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., called the combined aid package “putting on a bunch of unrelated issues to try to bootstrap Ukraine aid” amid a less controversial stance on supporting Israel.
Policemen stand guard as Israeli Jews pray in front of the Western Wall while attending a day of prayer in the Old City of Jerusalem Oct. 19, 2023.(Yuri Cortez/AFP via Getty Images)
Vance also said there are other ways to allot the $14 billion to Israel, “which is a very small amount of money in the United States federal budget.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, echoed Vance and Marshall and said the two regions are distinct with clear differences.
“We have to take into account that there are differences here,” he said. “When you do evaluate each funding request on the basis of the individual merits of the conflict and question the needs of Israel and Ukraine, and for that matter, other areas in the world that have been beset by some conflicts, they’re distinct and they’re separate.”
But Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, was the first among several Democrats who objected to Marshall’s motion and rallied continued support for both Ukraine and Israel.