The Biden administration, in its usual enthusiasm for spending money, is sending up a $105 billion so-called emergency aid package and hoping to get Congress to approve it in one vote.
That would be a huge mistake.
There are five different bills buried in this one request.
Each bill should be considered individually.
House and Senate Republicans should insist on taking up each of the bills, having hearings on them, and then modifying them as common sense and sound policy require.
Giving the Biden bureaucracy another $105 billion to waste would be destructive and self-defeating.
Lumping all five requests into one bill and then trying to rush an omnibus bill through guarantees that the average member of Congress and virtually all the American people would have no understanding of the hidden dimensions, waste, duplication, and bad policies buried in the bill.
Let’s analyze the five components.
First comes the support for Israel. Israel is in an existential fight and faces the potential of a war in Gaza, with Hezbollah in the north, with Iranian backed Syrian forces in the east, with Iranian funded-Houthi rebels in the southeast, and potentially with Iran itself.
Getting the proposed $14.3 billion in emergency assistance to Israel should be the priority. It will have overwhelming support in both the House and Senate. Because of the viciousness and brutality of the terrorist massacres on Oct. 7, there will be large margins of support.
Aid to Israel should not be slowed down by maneuvering and efforts at legislative linkage. Israel needs the help now. This could probably be passed within a week.
It may surprise some people, but I think the second most important proposal is the $14 billion for strengthening the border. However, this should only pass with profound changes in policy attached to the money. The open border and the flood of millions of illegal immigrants is a genuine crisis. But pouring more money into the Biden de facto open border policy would be a waste. It would also be misleading because the American people might assume spending the money would solve the problem. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Sen. Bill Hagerty, had it exactly right when he posted on X, formerly Twitter, that providing the administration with “more money to fuel its disastrous open-borders resettlement operation is insanity.
“It would worsen the border crisis, not stop it.”
The congressional response should be simple: No changes in policy, no money.
The third request in order of urgency is the proposed $61.4 billion for Ukraine. I strongly support helping Ukraine defeat Russia. I agree with those who say a Russian victory would lead to a war with NATO a few years down the road. The time to stop Putin’s aggression is now.
However, I would have three demands before voting for this $61.4 billion.
First, we need a review of the $76.8 billion we have already sent Ukraine (not counting the help we have given them through intelligence, spy satellites, etc.).
Second, we need a clear statement of our strategic goals. Is the United States committed to winning the war with Russia or just dragging it out as Ukrainians get killed? If we want to win, we need a clear commitment from the Biden administration to get the most advanced weapons to the Ukrainians as rapidly as possible.
Third, we need a continuing audit to minimize corruption in a country which has a long history of corruption (including Burisma and Hunter Biden).
Adding $61.4 billion to the $76.8 billion means America will have a $148.2 billion investment in stopping Putin. That is worth a series of hearings and careful consideration of each element of the request.
The fourth request is $7.4 billion for containing Communist China through aid to Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific allies. This is the right place to ask if we are going to help the Philippines in its showdown with the Chinese Communists over the Second Thomas Shoal. I generally favor this assistance—but again would like to know that the Biden administration was serious about helping allies being bullied by Communist China.
The last bill for $9 billion in humanitarian aid should be the most scrutinized and the most resisted. Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young has admitted that, “You’ve already seen a commitment from this administration in making sure humanitarian aid gets to those in Gaza. That aid will continue robustly as Congress funds more humanitarian aid.”
I am willing to support food and medicine for Gaza if it is delivered by the United States directly and is kept away from Hamas and the United Nations agencies (which are allies of Hamas).
I am deeply opposed to any reconstruction in Gaza paid for by Americans.
Reconstruction in Gaza should be the Iranians’ obligation. They encouraged the war. They trained Hamas for the war. They equipped Hamas for the war. This is their responsibility, and they should be forced to pay to reconstruct Gaza.
If necessary Iranian oil should be seized at sea and sold to provide resources to rebuild Gaza. The $6 billion sitting in Qatar that was supposed to go to Iran should be diverted to help rebuild Israel and Gaza. Iran—not the American taxpayer—should have to foot the bill for the disaster they created.
Republicans should stand firm for five separate bills and start with aid for Israel.
We must hold Democrats and the Biden administration accountable for the money they are trying to spend.