A bipartisan group of legislators on foreign relations panels is now pushing Senate and House leadership to pass further military spending for Taiwan and Ukraine through the next congressional budget package.
Sen. Bob Menedez, D-N.J., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and ranking member James Risch, R-Idaho, requested $500 million to support Ukraine and another $250 million to support allies of Ukraine. This is all in addition to the National Defense Authorization Act, passed by the House.
The senators were met by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., and ranking member Michael McCaul, R-Texas, in Thursday’s letter to congressional leadership.
They stated there were growing tensions in Taiwan and that the U.S. fears an invasion from China, calling for $500 million in emergency appropriations and another $1 billion in presidential drawdown spending, which takes from the Defense Department’s stocks.
"The threat Taiwan faces is both urgent and unprecedentedly large," the letter reads. "As the war in Ukraine has demonstrated, it is imperative that the United States provide partners with strategic, long-term security assistance well in advance of conflict in order to effectively deter, and, when necessary, to respond to acts of aggression."
The letter was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
On Wednesday, the House passed a short-term spending bill to keep the government open until Dec. 23, allowing lawmakers to pass a more expansive omnibus spending bill for fiscal 2023.
The House previously passed the $847 billion NDAA, allowing programs to spend $10 billion in Taiwan military aid until 2027. It secures another $800 million in security assistance for Ukraine.
Only the congressional appropriations bill can formalize the spending and authorize how it is being spent.
It could be for short-term spending authorization, like a presidential drawdown. Or it may be longer-term, through the foreign military financing program, which allows for grants and loans to allies included in the NDAA for Taiwan.
In the letter, the leaders of the House and the Senate foreign affairs committees pushed for authorization of full security spending, including the NDAA.
They've also requested authorization for the foreign military financing program because they claim it is "chronically underfunded" in the Indo-Pacific and Eastern Europe regions.
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