The White House details its $105 billion funding request for Israel, Ukraine, the border and more


President Joe Biden speaks from the Oval Office of the White House Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Washington, about the war in Israel and Ukraine.

President Joe Biden speaks from the Oval Office of the White House Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Washington, about the war in Israel and Ukraine.
| Photo Credit: AP

The White House on Friday released a sweeping set of proposals to bolster Israel and Ukraine in the midst of two wars as well as invest more in domestic defence manufacturing, humanitarian assistance and managing the influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The total cost of the supplemental funding request was pegged at just over $105 billion. U.S. President Joe Biden hopes Congress will move urgently on the legislation, and he made the case for deepening U.S. support for its allies during a rare Oval Office address on Thursday night.

The Democratic President's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, told reporters on Friday that Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine and Hamas' attack on Israel represent a “global inflection point.”

“This budget request is critical to advancing America’s national security and ensuring the safety of the American people,” Mr. Sullivan said.

However, next steps are in doubt while the House of Representatives remains in chaos with the Republican majority unable to choose a new Speaker. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, is still pushing to run the chamber, an effort that has led to frayed nerves and bruised relationships on Capitol Hill.

Even if Republicans are able to sort out their leadership drama, Mr. Biden will swiftly face resistance to his plans. He's hopeful that combining several different issues, from border security to countering China's influence, will foster a political coalition that can move the legislation forward.

But there’s equal potential for the entire package to get bogged down in various policy debates, especially when it comes to immigration, a historically contentious topic.

Shalanda Young, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, suggested it would be hypocritical for Republicans to oppose Biden's proposal after complaining about lax border management.

“We will not be lectured by those who refuse to act,” she said. “As we’ve said repeatedly, Congress needs to take action to provide sufficient resources for the border.”

Although there was a lull in migrant arrivals to the U.S. after the start of new asylum restrictions in May, illegal crossings topped a daily average of more than 8,000 last month.

The White House wants roughly $14 billion to, among other things, boost the number of border agents, install new inspection machines to detect fentanyl and increase staffing to process asylum cases.

The biggest line item in the supplemental funding request is $61.4 billion to support Ukraine. Some of that money will go to replenishing Pentagon stockpiles of weapons that have already been provided.

“The world is closely watching what Congress does next,” Mr. Sullivan said.

Israel would receive $14.3 billion in assistance under the proposal. The majority of that money would help with air and missile defense systems.

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