The Israel-Ukraine Funding Conundrum

In response to would-be speaker Jim Jordan’s reported openness to linking Ukraine and Israel aid, Matt Gaetz jumped in to say the two should be considered separately.
In response to would-be speaker Jim Jordan’s reported openness to linking Ukraine and Israel aid, Matt Gaetz jumped in to say the two should be considered separately. Photo: Tom Williams/Getty Images
Julia Ioffe
October 17, 2023

Last Monday, not 48 hours after Hamas rampaged through southern Israel, killing more than 1,400 Israelis, ousted Republican speaker Kevin McCarthy held a news conference. He called for more, urgent aid to Israel—and suggested that maybe he’d be open to being speaker once more. He was not the only one. Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, tweeted that “any funding for Ukraine should be redirected to Israel immediately.” And when news started to filter out that Jim Jordan, in his quest for the speakership, had (perhaps) promised some hawkish holdouts in his conference that he would allow a floor vote on a measure that would link aid to Israel and Ukraine, Matt Gaetz immediately jumped in to say the two should be considered separately. 

As the war between Israel and Hamas gets worse and worse, there has been a chorus of Republicans clamoring for more, more, more aid to Israel, all while holding fast to the position that Ukraine has had enough. As for the Biden administration’s proposal to link Ukraine and Israel aid, a source close to the House Freedom Caucus, which has grown increasingly hostile to funding Ukraine, said it would be “a massive issue” for the group of Republican representatives. “There is strong support for Israel, but there isn’t for the Ukraine conflict,” the source said. “Among the H.F.C., the sentiment is that there should be no more aid.”