newsU.S.-Israel Relations

Biden signs $95 billion Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan aid package into law

“I will always make sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself against Iran and the terrorists it supports,” the U.S. president said.

U.S. President Joe Biden signs the guestbook at the Israeli president's residence in Jerusalem on July 14, 2022. Credit: Adam Schultz/White House.
U.S. President Joe Biden signs the guestbook at the Israeli president's residence in Jerusalem on July 14, 2022. Credit: Adam Schultz/White House.

U.S. President Joe Biden signed a $95 billion supplemental foreign aid package with billions of dollars for Israel into law on Wednesday.

“It’s a good day for America. It’s a good day for Europe. And it’s a good day for world peace, for real,” Biden said. “This is consequential.”

Biden said that the aid to Israel would help prevent further attacks, like Iran’s April 13 drone, cruise missile and ballistic missile attack on the Jewish state which was almost completely intercepted by Israel, the United States and other partners without causing significant damage.

“I will always make sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself against Iran and the terrorists it supports,” Biden said. “With this aid, the United States can help replenish Israel’s air defense and provide other critical defense so Iran can never carry out the destruction it intended with its attack 10 days ago.”

The bill passed the Senate late Tuesday evening by an overwhelming 79-18 margin after the House approved the package on Saturday.

The final package combines four bills voted on separately in the House with $61 billion for Ukraine; $8 billion for Taiwan and countering China in the Indo-Pacific; and $26 billion in Israel-related funding. The bill also imposes additional sanctions on Iran and Russia, and includes a measure designed to force the Chinese parent of the social-media platform TikTok to sell the popular video-sharing company.

The $26 billion of Israel-related funding includes $14.3 billion that would go directly to Israel, with $5.2 billion devoted to procurement for the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Iron Beam rocket and missile-defense systems, $4.4 billion for Israeli purchases from U.S. defense stocks and $3.5 billion for the procurement of other advanced weapons systems.

U.S. Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Federations of North America, also welcomed the inclusion of $400 million in domestic supplemental funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which is designed to bolster security for synagogues, day schools and other at-risk locations. The program’s annual funding was cut by 10% in the U.S. government funding bill that passed in March.

The Israel-related portion also earmarks $9 billion for humanitarian assistance for Gaza and other international conflict areas.

Biden said on Wednesday that $1 billion of that money would be deployed for Gaza as soon as possible.

“We’re going to immediately secure that aid and surge it—surge it, including food, medical supplies, clean water,” Biden said. “And Israel must make sure all this aid reaches the Palestinians in Gaza without delay.”

Thirty-one Republicans voted for the legislation on Tuesday, nine more than when the Senate passed a similar version in February. 

Biden first proposed a supplemental foreign aid package in October; however, the legislation stalled for months in the House and Senate over Republican disagreements about the need for U.S. border security measures and the decision to tie more divisive Ukraine aid to the overwhelmingly popular Israel and Taiwan provisions.

Tuesday’s legislation was opposed by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Republican opponents of the bill were divided between those opposed to Ukraine aid, such as Vance and Hawley, and others like Cruz, who broadly supported the foreign aid funding but wanted the bill to address U.S. border security.

Democrats Merkley, Welch and Sanders all cited aid to Israel, and the leadership of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as their reason for voting against the bill, with Sanders calling its passage a “dark day” in the Senate.

“I voted no tonight on the foreign aid package for one simple reason: U.S. taxpayers should not be providing billions more to the extremist Netanyahu government to continue its devastating war against the Palestinian people,” Sanders stated. “Enough is enough. No more money for Netanyahu’s war machine.” 

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz thanked senators from both parties after the conclusion of the first day of Passover.

“The Israel aid package that now passed both houses of Congress is a clear testament to the strength of our alliance and sends a strong message to all our enemies,” tweeted Katz on Wednesday.

“As we mark 200 days to the barbaric Oct. 7 terror attack by Hamas, Israel and the United States stand together in the fight against terrorism, defending democracy and our shared values,” he stated, personally thanking Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“The Israel-U.S. strategic partnership is unbreakable,” Jerusalem’s top diplomat said.

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