McConnell Warns Of ‘Intertwined’ Threats Amid Debate Over Israel And Ukraine Aid
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) arrives to speak to reporters following a closed-door lunch meeting with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol October 17, 2023 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Threats to the United States are “intertwined” and should not be ignored, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on Tuesday, calling for Washington to rally behind allies such as Israel and Ukraine as lawmakers consider the Biden administration’s latest request to bolster them financially.

The top Republican spoke on the Senate floor about how U.S. adversaries Iran, Russia, and China “share interests,” which can be seen from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to Iran’s support of groups that wreak havoc on Israel.

“They see themselves in conflict with the West and especially with America,” McConnell said. “Russia would love to see Iranian-backed terrorists in the Middle East weaken America and our allies. Iran would love to see a Russian victory against Ukraine that divides the West and deepens its own defense cooperation with Moscow. And China for its part would love to see America’s resolve to stand with European and Israeli allies and reestablish actual deterrence against Russia and Iran crumble.”

He added, “So at the risk of repeating myself, the threats facing America and our allies are serious and they’re intertwined. If we ignore that fact, we do so at our own peril.” The Kentucky Republican also urged his Democrat colleagues “to show some common sense by working with Republicans to stop the border crisis, rebuild American military strength, and stand with our friends in Ukraine, Israel, and Asia.”

Congress is currently grappling with President Joe Biden’s request for roughly $106 billion, including $14.3 billion for Israel — which is fighting Iran-backed Hamas following its deadly terrorist attacks on Israeli soil earlier this month — $61.4 billion for Ukraine, as well as money for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific, humanitarian assistance, and border security.

In the Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Democrats, talks have gotten underway about whether to link Israel aid to more financial support for Ukraine. At least a few Republicans are needed to reach the 60 votes needed to clear the filibuster. While some GOP senators favor individual packages, others have signaled they are willing to consider Biden’s request with concessions, according to ABC News. The U.S. has already designated more than $100 billion in aid to Ukraine as it fights Russia and there is growing GOP opposition to allocating more funds to the cause.

House Republicans proposed a plan on Monday to provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel while rescinding the same amount of funds allocated to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) told Fox News that he hoped for bipartisan support for the measure, but acknowledged that the proposal was a “first draft.” He also said the United States is “not just going to print money and send it overseas.”

A statement from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre suggested the House GOP proposal was a “nonstarter,” adding that “demanding offsets for meeting core national security needs of the United States — like supporting Israel and defending Ukraine from atrocities and Russian imperialism — would be a break with the normal, bipartisan process and could have devastating implications for our safety and alliances in the years ahead.”


In remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he was “deeply troubled” by the House Republicans’ “partisan” legislation not having funds for Ukraine, humanitarian assistance for Gaza, and the Indo-Pacific. Schumer also said the House GOP plan contained “poison pills” that benefit the wealthy “tax cheats” and would increase the deficit.

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