Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the highest-ranking Jewish official in U.S. history, will lead a bipartisan delegation to Israel this weekend to reaffirm strong U.S. support.
During the visit, Schumer will engage with the new unity government, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz and President Isaac Herzog, exploring avenues for U.S. assistance to bolster Israel across various fronts.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, along with a bipartisan group of senators, is set to meet with at least three top-ranking Israeli officials this weekend to discuss a planned military assistance package for Israel in its fight against Hamas. https://t.co/FsCWBYVUft
— Axios (@axios) October 13, 2023
The senator’s office has kept the identities of other congressional leaders traveling with the group undisclosed.
Schumer’s trip follows Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to the region on Thursday and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s scheduled visit on Friday.
Earlier this week, Schumer curtailed his trip to China in response to the unfolding events in Israel. Alongside a bipartisan group, including three Democrats and three Republicans, the Senate majority leader met with Chinese President Xi Jinping before their return to the U.S. on Thursday.
Schumer led a delegation of six senators with the aim of advancing America’s economic and national security interests in the discussions. All of this precedes a potential meeting between President Joe Biden and Xi scheduled for next month.
Joining Schumer on the trip to Asia were Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).
This weekend’s trip coincides with Senate Democrats and the White House pressing Republicans to expedite the confirmation of nominees for key national security roles throughout the Middle East. The aim is to swiftly align efforts in response to Hamas’s attack on Israel.
The White House held an unclassified briefing with members of Congress this week exploring the possibility of combining assistance to Israel and Ukraine within a single package.
This aid would extend support to Taiwan, address border security and establish a nonprofit security program dedicated to safeguarding places of worship such as synagogues, mosques and churches.
The Senate is currently in recess until next week, while the House is in a state of suspension following the removal of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as House speaker. Public discussions in the Senate are anticipated to gain momentum next week, particularly as the temporary government spending arrangement is set to expire on November 17.
Although private talks kicked off this week, the Biden administration has yet to make a public request to Congress for a funding package to aid Israel in restocking its armaments and reinforcing its Iron Dome defense system.
The White House has refrained from specifying the exact cost of the aid package they’ll be pursuing.