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Biden drafts $100 billion foreign aid package, including money for Israel and Ukraine

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(WASHINGTON) — The Biden administration is drafting a $100 billion foreign aid package that includes assistance for Israel as well as other top security priorities, according to two people familiar with the details.

Details on the spending request were still being finalized ahead of an official request sent by the White House to Congress this week.

One person told ABC News that the “bulk” of the assistance will likely go toward Ukraine, while others also said that it included $10 billion for Israel. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss details that hadn’t been announced yet by the White House.

The request comes as President Joe Biden travels to Israel in a show of unity with the Jewish state following the brutal Oct. 7 attack on civilians by Hamas terrorists from Gaza.

On Capitol Hill, Senate leaders suggested Tuesday that such a sweeping aid package would find support among lawmakers.

“We’d like to get the supplemental package moved as quickly as possible because the needs are great in both Israel and Ukraine,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he would support bundling aid for Ukraine and Israel and that he expects the administration to include money for border security, too.

“The border part of it needs to be credible, not just some reference to it but a credible deal,” he told reporters.

Bloomberg was first to report the $100 billion total.

The aid proposal for Israel follows extensive discussions between the two countries, with Israel appearing to opt — at least for now — against a massive ground invasion of Gaza, even as international groups accuse Israel of worsening a humanitarian crisis by not allowing food or water into Gaza and cutting off electricity.

Behind closed doors, Biden officials have grown deeply worried about hardliners within Israel pushing for a scorched-earth military response that wouldn’t do enough to prevent civilian casualties, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity. At one point this week, aides believed that only the president himself could convince officials there that allowing humanitarian aid in Gaza would be in their country’s best security interests.

When asked about those discussions, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said they’re not telling the Israeli military how to operate and that civilians should be protected. At the same time, following the law of war is critical and something Biden has pressed Israel on, he said.

“Since almost the very, very beginning here, we have been talking about how important it is for democracies, like Israel and the United States, to stand up for the law of war, to respect innocent civilian life, unlike Hamas. So this is a foundational element of the discussions that we’ve had with the Israelis for forever, and we’ll continue to do that going forward,” Kirby told ABC’s Good Morning America.

Following lengthy meetings earlier this week between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Israeli counterpart, the two allies seemed to have reached some kind of consensus. Details of the aid package are now circulating among U.S. officials as Biden visits the region.

Budget experts say Israel’s assistance needs aren’t likely to be urgent due to a 2016 agreement that provides Israel $3.8 billion a year over 10 years. More pressing, they say, is Ukraine, which has run out of long-term funding as it seeks to fend off Russia.

Some House Republicans have questioned the need for more U.S. aid to Ukraine. By tying Ukraine and Israeli aid in a single legislative package, the White House would make it harder for GOP hardliners — who are staunch allies of Israel — to reject it.

Pro-Israeli groups have also called on Biden to include at least $500 million in grant funding for Jewish communities in the U.S. to protect synagogues and other community sites due to threats. It was not immediately clear if that request was part of Biden’s aid package as of Tuesday.

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