Trump suggests making foreign aid a loan, Ukraine hawk Graham receptive
The Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid package on a bipartisan basis early Tuesday morning. 22 Republicans and all but three Democrats voted to send the package over to the House where it faces an uncertain future.
If signed into law, the bill will provide – $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, $9 billion for humanitarian aid in Ukraine, Gaza and the West Bank, and $4.8 billion in security assistance in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China.
Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.: “Finally, America led the way for freedom and democracy. And with this bill, the Senate declares that American leadership will not waiver, falter or fail.”
House Speaker Mike Johnson does not approve of the bill because it does not include any border security provisions.
Johnson said in a statement: “The mandate of national security supplemental legislation was to secure America’s own border before sending additional aid around the world.”
“Now in the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters.”
Former President Donald Trump is suggesting making at least some of the aid a loan.
He wrote on Truth Social:
“WE SHOULD NEVER GIVE MONEY ANYMORE WITHOUT THE HOPE OF A PAYBACK, OR WITHOUT ‘STRINGS’ ATTACHED. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA SHOULD BE ‘STUPID’ NO LONGER!”
Trump wrote that the loan should have a contingency that if the country: “STRIKES IT RICH SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE, THE LOAN WILL BE PAID OFF AND THE MONEY RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES.”
Trump spoke with some members of Congress about the proposal this week and they sound receptive. They think it’s reasonable to ask countries to which America is giving billions of dollars to pay at least some of it back if they’re able.
Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D :“There’s no reason they wouldn’t be. Whether it’s Ukraine with its incredible natural resources or Russian assets that we have locked down. Or Israel, who you know is a very successful, wealthy, innovative nation. We all need to be in this together, but we need to do it the right way.”
Even Senator Lindsey Graham, who has advocated for Ukraine aid and visited the country multiple times since the war began said he supports it.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C: “To our friends in Ukraine, we want to be there for you. But we’re $34 trillion in debt. Let’s make it a loan, pass it back when you can, if you can.”
Graham said the terms of repayment could be similar to those set in the Lend-Lease Act during WWII. It allowed the President to set the conditions of repayment both in kind or of property, or quote: any other director or indirect benefit which the President deems satisfactory.
Americans are paying attention to how much money is being sent to Ukraine. A Financial Times Michigan Ross poll in December found that 48% of American voters believe the US was spending too much in military and financial aid for Ukraine, 27% said the US was spending the right amount and 11% said the US was not spending enough. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan.