In comments delivered in person at the White House on Tuesday, President Joe Biden went after Republicans for their unfolding opposition to a bipartisan deal that emerged in the Senate covering the border and prospective aid to Ukraine and Israel, both of which are currently grappling with major, external threats.
Reports already linked Russian military advances recently seen in eastern Ukraine to delays in the U.S. providing additional aid driven by Republicans’ hesitation. Now, Republicans are backing away from another opportunity to provide Ukraine with security assistance, which has most prominently been in the form of weapons deliveries. In addition to humanitarian concerns, it’s long been argued that the U.S. has a strategic interest in Russia’s defeat in the conflict, since an emboldened Russian military could potentially turn elsewhere.
“The clock is ticking,” Biden said. “Every week, every month that passes without new aid to Ukraine means fewer artillery shells, fewer air defense systems, fewer tools for Ukraine to defend itself against this Russian onslaught. Just what Putin wants. […] We can’t walk away now. That’s what Putin is betting on. Supporting this bill is standing up to Putin. Opposing this bill is playing into his hands. As I’ve said before, the stakes on this fight extend well beyond Ukraine. If we don’t stop Putin’s appetite for power and control in Ukraine, he won’t limit himself to just Ukraine. And the costs for America and our allies and partners will rise.”
The House GOP recently unveiled a standalone initiative to provide security assistance to Israel, but there haven’t been clear indications of that proposal — leaving other agenda items behind — advancing far. Republicans have claimed the border elements of the Senate deal somehow are substantially deficient, characterizing assistance for migrants with integrating into society as offering an incentive for undocumented immigration and dismissing the additional powers given to the federal government to mostly shut the southern border.