WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — President Joe Biden told the nation Thursday night it is “vital for America’s national security” to provide aid to Israel and Ukraine for their wars to stand up to dictators and promote stability across the world.
Drawing parallels between the two conflicts, Biden said if international aggression goes unchecked, “the risk of conflict and chaos could spread in other parts of the world.”
“Hamas and Putin represent different threats,” Biden said in an Oval Office address. “But they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy.”
Israel continues to pound the Gaza Strip with airstrikes, including in the south where Palestinians were told to take refuge. The long-expected ground invasion has not yet happened, but the country’s defense minister has told troops to “be ready” to invade.
Biden said he would send an urgent funding request to Congress, which is expected to be $105 billion for the next year. The proposal, which will be unveiled Friday, includes $60 billion for Ukraine, much of which is for replenishing U.S. weapons stockpiles that have already been provided.
There’s $14 billion for Israel, $10 billion for humanitarian efforts, $14 billion for managing the U.S.-Mexico border and fighting fentanyl trafficking and $7 billion for the Indo-Pacific region, which includes Taiwan. The proposal was described by three people familiar with the details who insisted on anonymity before the official announcement.
“It’s a smart investment that’s going to pay dividends for American security for generations,” Biden said. “We’re going to make sure other hostile actors in the region know that Israel is stronger than ever and prevent this conflict from spreading.”
The Gaza Health Ministry said 3,785 people have been killed in Gaza since the war between Israel and Hamas began, the majority of them women, children and older adults. Nearly 12,500 others were injured, and another 1,300 people were believed buried under the rubble, health authorities said.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly civilians slain during Hamas’ deadly incursion on Oct. 7. Roughly 200 others were abducted. The Israeli military said Thursday it had notified the families of 203 captives.
With regards to the war further east, the White House has warned that time is running out to prevent Ukraine, which recently struggled to make progress in a grueling counteroffensive, from losing ground to Russia because of dwindling supplies of weapons.
A Russian missile attack killed two civilians in an apartment building in southern Ukraine on Wednesday, local authorities said, as President Vladimir Putin dismissed the importance of a new U.S.-supplied weapon that Kyiv used to execute one of the most damaging attacks on the Kremlin’s air assets since the start of the war.
Putin told reporters that Russia “will be able to repel” further attacks by the U.S.-made Army Tactical Missile System, known as ATACMS.
Biden warned that failure to back Ukraine would enable Putin to take more aggressive actions in the region.
“If we don’t stop Putin’s appetite for power and control in Ukraine, he won’t limit himself just to Ukraine,” Biden said. “If we walk away and let Putin erase Ukraine’s independence, would-be aggressors around the world would be emboldened to try the same.”
Biden hopes that combining both of these issues into one piece of legislation will create the necessary political coalition for congressional approval.
But it won’t be easy.
Biden faces an array of steep challenges as he tries to secure the money. The House remains in chaos because the Republican majority has been unable to select a speaker to replace Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted more than two weeks ago.
Discussions on giving interim House Speaker Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., the authority to manage legislative affairs and conduct floor votes — an unprecedented move — have intensified as the House is without a permanent leader at a critical time for Congress.
Biden’s previous prime-time addresses to the nation included when the U.S. narrowly avoided a national debt default and the anniversary of coronavirus lockdowns. His first was to address the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.