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Senate set to hear from Blinken, Austin on Ukraine, Israel aid

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Israel and Ukraine aid: The House Republican proposal for $14 billion in military aid to Israel without the $60 billion for Ukraine requested by the Biden administration has little future in the Senate, but it may be in the spotlight Tuesday as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testify at the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The House GOP bill offsets the Israel aid with cuts from the IRS budget, which won’t fly in the Senate. Speaker Mike Johnson’s first binding piece of legislation sets up a standoff between the chambers.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a vocal supporter of continued aid to Ukraine, is expected to address the House’s proposal Tuesday.

An ambassador, at least: The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on the confirmation of Jack Lew to be U.S. ambassador to Israel. The urgency of filling the post ramped up after the October 7 attack by Hamas. The U.S. has not had a Senate-confirmed ambassador since July when Tom Nides left the post.

Lew has faced tough criticism from Senate Republicans over the Iran nuclear deal, which he helped craft during the Obama administration. He served as Treasury secretary and White House chief of staff under then-President Barack Obama.

Border spotlight: Senators will hear from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Counterterrorism Center Director Christine Abizaid at a hearing on “threats to the homeland” in the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Looking ahead: The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote as soon as Nov. 9 to authorize subpoenas related to their continued probing of Supreme Court ethics, Chair Duck Durbin (D-Ill.) announced Monday night. The subpoenas up for a vote are for Harlan Crow, Leonard Leo and Robin Arkley II, three Republican donors and activists who have been under the Judiciary panel’s microscope for months.

“The Supreme Court is in an ethical crisis of its own making,” Durbin and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a joint statement.