New Bill Gives Ukraine More Money Than US Marine Corps Budget

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One Republican lawmaker has spoken out against the bipartisan border bill, comparing its allotment for Ukraine aid to the recent budget of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Republicans across the board have made security issues along the southern border with Mexico their primary talking point heading into 2024. Many have refused to support any sort of continued military aid to Ukraine, a provision heavily urged by the Biden White House, unless it comes attached to border policy reforms.

On Sunday, the text of a much-hyped bipartisan Senate bill was released that aims to do just that, introducing what would be the most substantial border security reforms in years alongside aid packages for Ukraine and Israel. However, many Republicans, especially those in the House of Representatives, have criticized the bill and pledged to oppose it, citing issues with the border policies not being strict enough, which the bill’s GOP co-authors have disputed, and with the size of its aid to Ukraine. Overall, the proposed bill would allot $20 billion for border funding, $60 billion in Ukraine aid, $14 billion for Israel, $9.2 billion in humanitarian aid for Gaza civilians, and $4.83 billion for Indo-Pacific nations.

Shortly after the release of the bill, Senator Mike Lee, a Utah Republican generally considered one of the most conservative members of the Senate, took to X, formerly Twitter, to compare the bill’s Ukraine aid to the budget of the Marine Corps in 2023.

“Fun fact, the U.S. Marine Corps budget in FY23 was $53.8 billion,” Lee wrote. “This bill would give Ukraine more than $60 billion.”

The Ukraine aid allotment is substantial, considering that the U.S. provided roughly $75 billion in total military aid to the nation for its fight against Russia between late January 2022 and October 2023. The comparison does, however, lack the context that the Marine Corps is among the smaller branches of the U.S. Military, with larger branches commanding much larger budgets, like the Navy’s $205.2 billion for fiscal year 2024. While lower than the proposed Ukraine aid package, it is possible that the Marine Corps’ budget is sufficient for its needs.

Newsweek reached out to the Marine Corps press office via email on Monday for comment.

Supporters of the Senate bill, meanwhile, have decried the Republicans pledging to oppose it, claiming that they are doing so only to allow former President Donald Trump to continue campaigning on border issues as the 2024 presidential election continues. Trump himself has previously called on congressional Republicans to oppose anything short of the perfect border bill and called the newly released text of the bill a “death wish” for the party.

Above, a photo of Marine Corps members. GOP Senator Mike Lee derided the new Senate border bill for allotting more in aid to Ukraine than the budget of the Marine Corps in 2023.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images