President Joe Biden’s urgent request for funding for Israel and Ukraine with those two nations at war could quickly run up against a dysfunctional House of Representatives and make for a tragedy, an analyst said Friday.
Biden on Friday morning asked lawmakers to approve $14 billion for Israel and $61 billion for Ukraine, in addition to funding for the U.S.-Mexico border and the Indo-Pacific region, including Taiwan. Besides helping U.S. allies, administration officials described the request as helping to beef up the U.S. defense industry
But with the House struggling to elect a speaker, it doesn’t appear that Biden’s request will be acted on quickly.
“Even as fears grow that the Middle East war may spread throughout the region, there is no guarantee that emergency aid from Washington is imminent,” Greg Valliere, chief U.S. policy strategist at AGF Investments, wrote in a note on Friday morning.
“This is where the House dysfunction morphs from farce to tragedy,” Valliere said.
Rep. Jim Jordan indicated Friday that he planned to keep pushing to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives, even as he continues to face opposition from his fellow Republicans.
“There’s been multiple rounds of votes for speaker before,” the Ohio congressman said during a news conference, referring to the 15 ballots former Speaker Kevin McCarthy needed to secure the job in January.
Jordan faces a third round of voting on his candidacy Friday morning. The House convened just after 10 a.m. Eastern time and is slated to hear nominating speeches for speaker candidates, then proceed to a third ballot.
Valliere also predicted an ugly fight in the House over the details of Biden’s request, given competing priorities and support for different objectives among House members.
“There’s no chance that an aid package can move without a House speaker, and while support for aid to Israel is strong in both houses, there’s only lukewarm backing in the House for Ukraine,” he wrote.
“And Democrats asserted this week that once a bill gets moving, it should contain major new social spending, including new funds for child care. A bidding war looms.”
Victor Reklaitis contributed.