ICYMI—Hagerty Joins Kudlow on Fox Business to Discuss Blinken’s Failure to Guarantee US Tax Dollars Aren’t Funding Hamas

November 1, 2023

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Appropriations and Foreign Relations Committees and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, today joined Kudlow on Fox Business to discuss his questioning during today’s Senate Appropriations Committee hearing with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and the Biden Administration’s supplemental funding request that will only increase funding for their inept border policies and worsen the crisis.

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Partial Transcript

Hagerty on Blinken’s inability to guarantee that U.S. taxpayers aren’t funding both sides of the Israel-Hamas War: “Any ceasefire is a win for Hamas. I think that Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken [and] Secretary [of Defense Lloyd] Austin should know that—certainly they should. The fact is—I think it was demonstrated today—I questioned Secretary Blinken three times directly if he could assure us that not a dime of U.S. dollars or not a dime of U.S. foreign aid assistance had gone to benefit Hamas and their October 7th attack against Israel. He could not answer the question. We’ve got to stop feeding this. I went and met with the Israeli leadership in May of 2021. Prime Minister Netanyahu [and] his National Security Advisor were very clear with me that every dollar of foreign aid that goes into the Gaza Strip is controlled by Hamas. They either tax it, they direct it, or they divert it. You’ve seen them even take pipes that were meant for the water supply and divert those into making them into rockets. I think we know what’s going on here. Again, you nailed it. I think what they [the Biden Administration] are doing is just checking the box and trying to appease the radical left, but they’re doing it in a way that endangers Israeli civilians. They’re doing it in a way that winds up putting U.S. funding both sides of this war. U.S. taxpayers wind up funding both sides of this war when the Administration behaves in this manner.”

Hagerty on the need to support Israel’s right to defend itself rather than call for a “pause” in fighting: “I’ve said all along that we should be stepping back [and] giving Israel the headroom and the support to do what it knows how to do rather than trying to call the shots from the halls here in Washington. And again, what we’re doing is allowing domestic politics to creep into it; that’s shaping the response right here, as you aptly called out. You’re exactly right; let the Israelis decide how to handle this best on the ground. They know what the threat is; it’s most proximate to them. But what we’re talking about here, I think, very clearly, is a huge danger to Israeli safety. And again, I don’t want to see U.S. taxpayers on the hook funding both sides of this war.”

Hagerty on the Israel aid package: “I heard the Speaker [of the House Mike Johnson] earlier on this segment talk about how there’s bipartisan support right now for Israel. The need for this is urgent; I agree with him. Let’s just put it on the floor—they’re going to vote on it in the House this week—let’s get it over here. Let’s deal with it. Let’s handle these things in order. I’m certainly in alignment with what the Speaker’s talking about doing. What the Biden Administration sent over in terms of the supplemental is just full of everything, including the kitchen sink. This is very typical—you know the Washington play here, Larry—it’s not going to work as it’s structured right now. Let’s focus on what will work; the Israel piece right now will pass.”

Hagerty on the Biden Administration’s supplemental funding request for more border management, not border security: “On the border piece, it’s not border security at all, Larry. It’s more funds to process people more rapidly into our country. It’s egregious. What they’re talking about is actually funding the worst policy that we’ve ever seen, the greatest national security crisis that’s happened in our nation. They want to just accelerate the process with additional funding; it’s dead-on-arrival. This is not the right approach; we need to change the policy at the border. We need to go back to what worked in the Trump Administration—you were deeply involved in that—and we’re not there at all with what the Biden Administration has proposed in this.”