Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina said on Sunday that he would not support a request from President Biden to package aid for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan and funding for border security, even though he has endorsed U.S. spending for each of those purposes.
“I believe that leveraging the challenges in the war with Israel to get more assistance for Ukraine at that level of $60 billion is too much, and we need to have a single focus on bringing Congress together behind the support for Israel,” Mr. Scott, a 2024 Republican candidate, said on “This Week” on ABC News.
At first, he indicated that his objection was mainly to the possibility of delaying aid to Israel by combining it with funding on which Congress is more divided. He said that he believed aid to Israel alone “would pass overnight,” and that a “splintered” package would be harder to pass.
But when the interviewer, Jonathan Karl, asked whether he would actually vote against the package if it came to the Senate floor, Mr. Scott said he would.
“I will in the current construct,” he said, adding that a “longer process” was needed to debate how much aid to send to Ukraine. “Israel is at the beginning of a long, protracted war,” he said. “I think we are much better off, better served as a nation, focusing our resources and our attention immediately on Israel, and continuing to provide the kind of level of accountability and responsibility the American people want to see as it relates to the resources for Ukraine.”
His campaign did not elaborate on his comments, and pointed to a CNN interview in which he said largely the same thing, criticizing the package for including “more money for Ukraine than it does for Israel.”
The request that Mr. Biden submitted to Congress on Friday included about $61 billion for Ukraine; $14 billion for Israel; $7 billion for Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific allies; $9 billion for humanitarian aid in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza; and $14 billion for border security in the United States.
Mr. Scott is not the only Republican to object to putting those pieces in one package, an effort by the Biden administration to pressure lawmakers who oppose funding Ukraine to support the proposal in the interest of funding Israel, and vice versa.
Vivek Ramaswamy, another Republican presidential candidate, denounced the proposal at a campaign event in Iowa on Saturday. Mr. Ramaswamy has long opposed aid to Ukraine, and he said at the event that Israel’s military objectives in Gaza were unclear and that helping Israel would risk a broader conflict in the Middle East.
But Mr. Scott’s rejection of the package is notable because he is on the record as supporting every component.
He has been one of the most outspoken Republican candidates in favor of helping Ukraine repel Russia’s invasion: He accused Mr. Biden last year of “waiting too long to provide too little support,” and he has described a Ukrainian victory as a matter of American interest, arguing that it would discourage a Russian incursion into NATO territory that would pull the United States into a wider war. He has endorsed sending weapons to Taiwan. And, in the same interview on Sunday in which he rejected the package, he called for funding to secure the southern border of the United States.
Almost the entire Republican presidential field has endorsed military aid to Israel, but the candidates are divided on aid to Ukraine: In addition to Mr. Ramaswamy, former President Donald J. Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida have said they want to cut it. Only a few, though, have voiced their positions on Mr. Biden’s proposal.
Among them is former Vice President Mike Pence, who told NBC News on Sunday that he supported aid for Israel and Ukraine “together or separately.”