President Joe Biden urged Congress to support a funding package for both Israel’s and Ukraine’s war efforts Thursday, a move he said will “pay dividends for American security for generations.”
Wyoming’s delegation has had mixed reactions to the president’s request.
U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis told Cowboy State Daily that although she supports Israel, she doesn’t want money for the war effort there lumped in with funding the war in Ukraine.She said Biden is trying to back-door support for Ukraine.
“The Biden administration should not use the crisis in Israel— and our desire to help our strongest ally — to get additional funding for Ukraine across the finish line, especially as people in Wyoming struggle to afford record-breaking inflation rates,” she said.
In his formal proposal to Congress, Biden requested $105 billion in emergency funding to fight “terrorism and tyranny” in both Israel and Ukraine. More than half of that, $61.4 billion, would be earmarked for the U.S. to continue providing weapons and economic assistance to Ukraine in its battle against Russia, and $10.6 billion in military support for Israel.
“The wars we’re seeing unfold in both Israel and Ukraine are heartbreaking, but they are two separate conflicts, and the aid we give one country should not be contingent on another,” Lummis said.
Congress has provided $113 billion in funding to Ukraine since the start of its war in early 2022. Although she has generally supported Ukraine in its fight against Russia, Lummis has consistently opposed America directly fund its war efforts.
On Thursday, Lummis and eight other senators sent a letter to Senate leadership requesting that aid packages for Israel and Ukraine be voted on separately. A similar letter was crafted in the House, urging the top Speaker candidates to oppose coupling the funding barrels together.
A spokesperson for Lummis said she’s “open” to giving money to Israel, but wants to see how it’s paid for before offering full support.
“She’s very concerned about the long-term impacts of our soaring national debt on the people of Wyoming and future generations,” the spokesperson said.
Wyoming U.S. Sen. John Barrasso did not sign the letter. He told Cowboy State Daily that Biden needs to do more than offer monetary solutions.
“The war supplemental sent from President Biden doesn’t address a failing strategy at home and abroad,” Barrasso said. “This is a time for American strength, not just more money. That means a real change in strategy and policy when it comes to dealing with terrorists and lawless American borders. We need a plan to protect our homeland first and foremost, arm our allies, and speak clearly to our enemies.”
Barrasso, like other Republicans, has offered consistent support for Israel and has indicated he favors helping that country.
“America cannot let Israel stand alone,” he said at a press conference earlier this week. “That means getting Israel the weapons and military assistance they need.”
Barrasso has also supported offering financial support to Ukraine since the start of its war. In July, he said on Fox News that America cannot “shoulder the burden” of supporting Ukraine alone.
Rep. Harriet Hageman told Cowboy State Daily that she supports Israel in its fight against “radical Islam.”
“A weak America makes for an unsafe world and the world was undoubtedly safer and more secure under President Trump,” she said. “What has happened in Israel is a tragedy of the greatest order. I am heartbroken for the families and children who have been murdered or are now hostages, including American citizens.”
She did not clarify if she supports backing Israel’s efforts financially, but did say sheopposes combining support for Israel and Ukraine. She also has opposed supporting Ukraine’s war efforts financially.
“The attempt to package border security with Ukraine and Israel aid is a boondoggle by the Biden administration,” she said. “We simply cannot continue writing blank checks with no accountability and no plan.”
Republicans and Democrats have raised concerns about whether the U.S. needs to be giving military assistance to either Ukraine or Israel. Biden’s funding request also includes $12 billion for more agents and facilities along the U.S. border with Mexico and $7.4 billion for security to support Taiwan and other allies in the South Pacific.
Wyoming’s delegation also has criticized the $6 billion Biden gave to Iran that some argued was used to free up other money that Iran used to provide support to Hamas shortly before its terrorist attack on Israel earlier this month. Last week, the United States and Qatar agreed to deny Iran access to these funds.
“This administration’s appeasement strategy towards Iran has enabled Iran to fund Hamas and Hezbollah in their attacks on Israel,” Barrasso said.
Biden’s request comes as House Republicans continue to wrestle over who will be their next speaker, leaving Congress unable to act on any other measure until that task is complete. On Friday morning, a third vote was taken for speaker, with top Republican speaker candidate Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, once again failing to get enough votes.
Hageman voted for Jordan in all three votes. She was photographed talking to a visibly disgruntled Jordan shortly after Friday’s vote.
Jordan pushed ahead with the third vote Friday despite clear signs that he would fall short. The third vote was his worst result yet, with 25 Republicans opposing him compared to the 22 who voted against him on his last try Wednesday.
Former Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney has opposed Jordan’s bid, saying that Republicans who support him would be “abandoning the Constitution” for his efforts to support former President Donald Trump’s efforts to question the results of the 2020 election.
Hageman criticized Cheney being proposed by some as a compromise candidate in the speaker elections on X (formerly Twitter) earlier this week. She said although Cheney may be popular in corporate media and “liberal academic symposiums,” she is not popular in Wyoming or within the House Republican Caucus.
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.