‘We won’t write blank checks’: Biden urges Congress to pass Ukraine and Israel aid

“There are moments in history that call for leadership and courage. This is one of them,” the president wrote.

President Joe Biden’s appeal came hours before House Speaker Mike Johnson unveiled an outline of his foreign aid plan. | Alex Brandon/AP

President Joe Biden took to the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal Wednesday to ramp up the pressure on Congress to pass foreign aid legislation that would help bolster Ukrainian and Israeli defenses and deliver humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

“Now is not the time to abandon our friends. The House must pass urgent national-security legislation for Ukraine and Israel, as well as desperately needed humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza,” Biden wrote in the op-ed, promising that the U.S. would not “write blank checks,” to either country.

“We’d send military equipment from our own stockpiles, then use the money authorized by Congress to replenish those stockpiles—by buying from American suppliers. … We’d be investing in America’s industrial base, buying American products made by American workers, supporting jobs in nearly 40 states, and strengthening our own national security,” Biden wrote. “We’d help our friends while helping ourselves.”

Biden’s appeal came hours before House Speaker Mike Johnson unveiled an outline of his foreign aid plan. Johnson’s four-part proposal splits aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan into separate bills, and some of the assistance would be conditioned as a loan and would include mandates for military strategy and oversight.

Even amid increased urgency from lawmakers to get aid to Israel in the wake of Iran’s drone attack over the weekend, some hardline Republicans have vowed to try to tank the package — and two have publicly supported ousting Johnson from his speakership amid rising frustration over his efforts to push foreign aid legislation.

In the op-ed, Biden painted the package as an investment today that would keep American troops from having to engage more directly in the conflicts tomorrow.

“If Russia triumphs, Mr. Putin’s forces will move closer than ever to our North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies. ‘An attack on one is an attack on all’ means that if Mr. Putin invades a NATO ally, we will come to its aid—as our NATO allies did for us after the Sept. 11 attacks. We should surge support to Ukraine now, to stop Mr. Putin from encroaching on our NATO allies and ensure that he doesn’t draw U.S. troops into a future war in Europe,” Biden wrote.

The plan should not be “held hostage,” by a cluster of conservative Republicans, Biden added.

“There are moments in history that call for leadership and courage,” he wrote. “This is one of them.”

Source: Politico