Washington, D.C. – Foreign Policy for America (FP4A) welcomes the news of a bipartisan deal that will finally lead to a vote in the Senate on President Biden’s emergency supplemental request. While the bill is hardly perfect, we support its passage.
The sustained efforts of a bipartisan group of Senators to reach this agreement is in stark contrast to the politicized attempts by House Republican leadership to derail any package that includes assistance to Ukraine. Speaker Johnson’s most recent move – to announce a vote on a standalone Israel aid bill that contains no humanitarian assistance, no aid to Ukraine, and no border-related funding – is yet another political ploy. We strongly oppose this bill.
The bipartisan Senate legislative package includes over $60 billion to help the Ukrainian people fight back against Vladimir Putin’s brutal aggression and to prevent a wider war in Europe. As over 300 nonpartisan national security and foreign policy professionals explained in urging Congress to provide this funding back in October, “If Putin prevails, it would dramatically increase the likelihood of a Russian conflict directly with our closest treaty allies, putting American lives at risk, and escalate the potential threat of nuclear conflict.”
The bill also includes:
However, the bill falls short in ways that we hope will be addressed either through amendments or future legislation.
Regrettably, the legislation includes several troubling immigration policy changes that will restrict access to asylum and limit relief to those fleeing persecution and violence. The best way to address the underlying causes of irregular migration is through diplomatic engagement with Central and South American countries, sustained efforts to develop a more democratic, prosperous, and safe region, and comprehensive reform to fix our broken immigration system.
The bill also fails to address the need for rigorous and consistent oversight of security assistance, including to Israel. In light of the nature of the military operation by the Netanyahu Government, marked by unrelenting aerial bombing leading to extreme levels of civilian casualties, we have significant concerns about the use of U.S. weapons for offensive operations in Gaza.
The Senate should strengthen this package by agreeing to the amendments offered by Senators Van Hollen and Kaine that ensure proper oversight of the assistance provided, and by removing the blanket prohibition against funding the UN Relief and Works Agency, which provides health care, housing, and other aid to families in Gaza.