WASHINGTON, D.C. – The president and lawmakers are working to send billions of dollars in aid to Israel as it fights against Hamas terrorists. While the aid is crucial, some are saying the U.S. should not only help Israel, it should also target the source of the terrorism – Iran.
So far, President Biden and members of Congress have talked about the importance of aiding Israel but have been unable to provide any extra funding because of dysfunction in the House of Representatives. Coupling aid for Israel along with aid for Ukraine is shaping up to be a fight on Capitol Hill when the House eventually finds a speaker.
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) spoke to CBN about the need to provide financial aid to Israel and for the U.S. to crack down on Iran. Lankford says not only does the Biden administration need to stop its $6 billion payment to Iran that was part of a hostage release negotiation, but sanctions against the country need to be enforced in order to aid Israel.
“Literally Israel is facing violence from three different sides, all being funded or stirred up by the Iranian regime. A couple things are pretty basic for this, the Biden administration has reduced the enforcement or the sanctions on Iran on their oil sales. Their oil sales have skyrocketed giving a lot more money to Iran so they can send to Hezbollah, they can send it to Hamas. That has to stop. We’ve got to actually enforce the sanctions in place,” Lankford told CBN.
The war in Israel is another worldwide conflict that Lankford sees as a threat to U.S. national security. Combined with a growing threat from China and the continued war in Ukraine brought on by Russia, Lankford sees U.S. aid to its allies as a huge priority to keep America safe. The debate over aid now is whether or not the U.S. should couple together assistance for both Israel and Ukraine.
“I don’t know if we’re going to tie those two together or not but those two both need to be done. There’s a lot of controversy over providing aid to Ukraine, let me make it clear. Ukraine is being attacked by Russia with funding from China and weapons from North Korea and Iran. So when you have Iran, North Korea, China, and Russia together – if the United States just yawns and walks away and says that’s no big deal, we’re literally turning a new world over to Iran, North Korea, China, and Russia. That’s a bad idea for the entire world,” Lankford told CBN.
The White House’s $100 billion aid request does couple the international defense funding for Israel and Ukraine together. Some Republicans have already come out against it.
“Why is Joe Biden going on national television and selling people on a Ukrainian escalation when Joe Biden is talking about the terrible tragedy in Israel…Ukraine, it is a separate country with a separate problem. I think what the President did is completely disgraceful,” said Sen. J.D. Vance to Fox News after Biden’s address.
But there is strong bipartisan support to aid both U.S. allies in their fights, including from the Republican leader of the Senate.
“I think it requires a worldwide approach, rather than trying to take parts of it out. It’s all connected. The Chinese and the Russians have now said they’re friends forever, Iranian drones are being used in Ukraine and against the Israelis,” Sen. Mitch McConnell told CBS over the weekend.
The Senate is the only chamber that can work on crafting a funding package for the time being. The House hasn’t had a Speaker for three weeks and without one legislation can’t get through Congress.
Some House Republicans see the Speaker fight as a major problem on the world’s stage.
“I want a speaker in the chair so we can move forward and govern, my issues, my committee of war and peace, it’s too dangerous right now. The world’s on fire. This is so dangerous what we’re doing, and most importantly it’s embarrassing because it empowers and emboldens our adversaries like Chairman Xi who says ‘look, democracy doesn’t work,'” Rep. Michael McCaul told ABC over the weekend.
The House will try again to elect a new speaker this week.