Rep. Garcia Leads Call for President Biden to Decouple Israel and Ukraine Aid
Washington, October 31, 2023
Tags: National Security
Representative Mike Garcia (CA-27) led seven of his colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden urging him to decouple supplemental funding for Israel from a larger package that includes additional funds for Ukraine.
Representative Mike Garcia (CA-27) led seven of his colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden urging him to decouple supplemental funding for Israel from a larger package that includes additional funds for Ukraine. In the letter, the members express concern over potentially delaying critical funding for Israel – America’s greatest ally – in the name of President Biden’s blank-check strategy in Ukraine that continues to feed the ongoing stalemate.
“[T]he unique conditions present in Ukraine and in Israel are such that support for each should be considered separately and on their own merits. Israel and the United States have been allies for nearly 75 years…Furthermore, the situation in Israel is dynamic and threatens to pull the entire region into disarray whereas the fronts in Ukraine have remained largely stagnant for some months.
Read the full letter HERE or see the full text below.
Dear Mr. President,
We write to urge you to advocate for the decoupling of supplemental funding for Israel from a larger package that includes additional supplemental funds for Ukraine. Since you submitted your supplemental request to Congress on October 20, 2023, overwhelming support for considering funding for Israel and Ukraine separately has come forward in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
In your letter, you accuse House Republicans of playing ‘political games’, but Mr. President, the American people know that it is you who are playing games by attempting to tie support for Israel to more than $60 billion in additional funds for Ukraine. Funds that your administration has failed to demonstrate will deliver a decisive edge to Ukrainian forces who are engaged in trench warfare the likes of which has not been seen since 1914. In doing so, you are risking the possibility that important funding for Israel’s defense will be delayed or defeated because of opposition in the House and Senate to your ‘blank check’ strategy in Ukraine.
Additionally, the unique conditions present in Ukraine and in Israel are such that support for each should be considered separately and on their own merits. Israel and the United States have been allies for nearly 75 years. There is a level of trust and interoperability between our countries that simply does not exist between the U.S. and Ukraine. Furthermore, the situation in Israelis dynamic and threatens to pull the entire region into disarray whereas the fronts in Ukraine have remained largely stagnant for some months. Truthfully, the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel are only comparable in that both may have been avoided if your administration had adopted a policy of deterrence earlier against Russia and Iran, instead of appeasing our enemies by releasing billions of dollars to known supporters of terror or by suggesting that a ‘minor incursion’ by Russia against Ukraine might be acceptable.
Israel and Ukraine must both be victorious, that much is clear. However, the American taxpayers have become weary of funding a never-ending stalemate in Ukraine with no vision for victory. To reassure Americans, we have identified twelve reasonable and rational conditions that must be addressed before a single dollar is sent to Ukraine. These conditions are necessary solely because of a failure of leadership from your administration, but they are all more than reasonable expectations that any war being fought to win and with a coherent strategy should be able to meet.
1. President Biden and President Zelensky must provide the U.S. Congress with an actual win strategy. Simply strategy ‘we are with you until we prevail’ or ‘we must win’ are not win strategies. How does Ukraine prevail and how long is this expected to take? These estimates do not need to be exact, but we should understand the end-state goal and exit criteria.
2. What is the estimated price tag associated with the execution of the win strategy? Selective disclosure and incremental asks are unaffordable, unsustainable, and unacceptable.
3. President Biden and Secretary Austin need to clearly update the American people on the status of the war in Ukraine. This includes informing the public on Ukrainian progress to date, outlining causal factors for the current stalemate, and providing a status update on the ‘spring counteroffensive.’
4. President Biden and Secretary Austin must explain why future U.S. investments are necessary. This includes outlining which weapons are being sent and how those specific weapons will help win the war, not just prolong it. Also, it is important to get an assessment of which weapons have not been sent but could have altered the trajectory of the war before today.
5. President Biden and Secretary Austin must provide Congress with a list of weapons that have not been sent to Ukraine but would be effective in altering the current stalemate. The administration’s current slow-drip policy has only prolonged Ukraine’s suffering, and it is the responsibility of Congress to play a role in deciding what additional capabilities should be offered to Ukraine.
6. President Biden and Secretary Austin must explain what would happen if American investments into Ukraine cease. Do we believe EU and NATO nations would also divest from the efforts? Would Ukraine not be able survive and win? If not, why? What core military exports would be necessary?
7. U.S. Treasury and Commerce need to report to Congress with the level of enforcement and compliance of already approved sanctions against Russia. No one is providing regular and thorough updates to Congress on the existing sanctions.
8. The U.S. and all NATO members should adopt a full-sanction policy against Russia to include ALL oil, grain, and rare earth minerals. These three critical exports are currently not meaningfully impacted by global sanctions, and they represent the bulk of export revenue to Russia.
9. President Biden and Secretary Austin must provide a clear explanation of why the resources being requested are the right ones to win.
10. Do the U.S. and Ukraine have alignment on the mission objectives regarding Crimea? Does the U.S. believe the desire of Ukraine to reclaim Crimea is realistic? A classified venue is sufficient for this discussion.
11. President Biden and President Zelensky must continue to provide Congress with a full accounting — to the extent possible - of weapon systems that have been sent and used to date.
12. President Biden must provide a commitment and evidence to the fact that his administration is not jeopardizing the schedule and cost of critical domestic weapon programs or the commitments we have made to Taiwan FMS programs and Israel FMF programs. We cannot cannibalize the capacity for our own capabilities — or our other strategic partnership requirements — to meet commitments to Ukraine.
Until your administration has satisfactorily met these conditions, funding for Ukraine should not be considered in Congress. For this reason, it is critical that you publicly request that funding for the defense of Israel be considered standalone on its own merits. Failure to make such a request would lead to your actions further endangering Israel during one of the most dangerous conflicts since its founding.
Thank you for your attention regarding this important matter. We look forward to working on a path forward for emergency funding for Israel separate from funding for Ukraine.