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Yellen Says U.S. Can ‘Certainly’ Afford To Provide Military Support For Israel And Ukraine

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen signaled on Monday that she has no doubt the U.S. could fund Israel and Ukraine in their ongoing military co...

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen signaled on Monday that she has no doubt the U.S. could fund Israel and Ukraine in their ongoing military conflicts despite America’s rising gross national debt.

In an interview with Britain’s Sky News, Yellen told the outlet that the U.S. could “absolutely” afford to provide military aid to Israel in its war against the militant terrorist organization Hamas while funding more support to Ukraine in its ongoing struggle with Russia.

“America can certainly afford to stand with Israel and to support Israel’s military needs, and we also can and must support Ukraine in its struggle against Russia,” Yellen said in an interview with Sky News.

Last month, America’s gross national debt surpassed $33 trillion, which didn’t draw heavy concern for Yellen, who said at the time that the net interest as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) remains under control by the federal government.

In her interview with Sky News, she emphasized the U.S. economy is doing “extremely well.”

“Inflation has been high, and it’s been a concern to households, it’s come down considerably,” she said. “At the same time, we have about the strongest labor market we’ve seen in 50 years with 3.8% unemployment. And at the same time, America — the Biden administration — has passed legislation that is strengthening our economy in years to come for the medium term,” referring to the Fiscal Responsibility Act that claims to reduce budget deficits by $1.5 million over the next decade.

Yellen said the economic impacts of the Israel-Hamas war were too early to gauge, as volatile oil prices remain a concern while other Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, could get involved in the conflict.

Still, the nation’s top treasury official said Israel and Ukraine remain a “priority” for the U.S. and called on GOP House lawmakers to fill the vacant speaker position after the lower chamber of Congress removed former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) nearly two weeks ago.

“It’s really up to the House to find, seat a speaker and to put us in a position where legislation can be passed,” Yellen said, adding that “it shows that there’s a problem in the Republican party in terms of being able to effectively govern the country.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters during his visit to Israel that he would not wait for the House to get in order before drafting legislation with the “most generous package” for Israel.

“We believe if we put together a strong package and pass it with an overwhelming, strong bipartisan majority, it will put pressure on the House, one way or another, to act,” Schumer said.

An estimated 1,400 Israelis have been killed since Hamas launched a brutal terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, including more than 280 soldiers, while roughly 3,200 more Israelis have been injured. In addition, Hamas is believed to have taken nearly 200 hostages. Iranian officials reportedly said Hamas would release hostages held captive in Gaza but said that making preparations to free civilians is “impossible” under Israeli bombing.

U.S. officials said on Sunday the American death toll in Israel reached 30, and more than a dozen remain missing. It is unclear how many are being held hostage in Gaza after Biden said last week that some U.S. citizens were among those taken.

During the Sky News interview, Yellen stressed the importance of sparing civilian lives “to the maximum extent possible.”

U.S. officials, including President Joe Biden, have reiterated their “unwavering support” for Israel’s right to defend itself in its war against Hamas.

Biden rejected the claim that the U.S. could not financially support Israel and Ukraine in their ongoing conflicts during an interview with “60 Minutes,” adding that both could impact the safety of America.

“We’re the United States of America for God’s sake, the most powerful nation in the history — not in the world, in the history of the world,” he said. “We can take care of both of these and still maintain our overall international defense,” he said.

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