Zelenskyy plans to request additional aid for Ukraine amidst a budget dispute in Congress.
On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will appeal to House and Senate lawmakers on Capitol Hill, seeking additional funding to assist his country, which is facing the challenges of war.
Mr. Zelenskyy will be visiting the U.S. for the second time after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. However, unlike his previous visit where he spoke to a joint session of Congress in December, the Ukrainian leader now encounters a more skeptical group of lawmakers.
During his recent visit to Capitol Hill, the House Democrats were still in charge of the chamber and were more willing to support the war efforts in Ukraine. However, current polls indicate that a majority of Americans are now against providing further aid to Ukraine.
After his meeting with President Biden, Mr. Zelenskyy will privately request ongoing assistance from U.S. legislators. Following his address to the United Nations in New York on Tuesday, he emphasized the importance of global unity in preventing future acts of aggression.
The Ukrainian leader is facing a more challenging situation due to the Republican Party being in control of the House and being caught up in a spending dispute within its own members.
Approximately 33% of the weapons provided to the Ukrainian military have come from the United States. Additionally, Congress has approved approximately $43 billion in funding since the invasion. The White House has recently asked Congress for an extra $24 billion to support Ukraine.
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Nevertheless, an increasing number of GOP members in both the House and Senate are expressing doubts about the financial aid allocated to Ukraine, with some outright advocating for its cessation.
House conservatives are opposing the passage of a temporary spending measure that aims to keep the federal government operational after September 30. This opposition is due to the inclusion of a provision related to sending additional U.S. dollars to Ukraine.
Rep. Ralph Norman, a Republican from South Carolina, stated that the GOP leadership intends to impose a closed rule on any Ukraine funding measure. This rule would essentially prevent any amendments to the provision, except for those already approved by the committee.
“I cannot reword”
Republican Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ted Cruz of Texas and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin are taking issue with continuing the war aid to Ukraine.
“I am against providing more financial support to Ukraine. It is important for us to communicate to the Europeans that they should assume responsibility in Europe, while we take charge in the Pacific. I have been expressing this viewpoint even before the invasion of Ukraine.”
Mr. Cruz told reporters that regardless of what Mr. Zelenskyy says on Thursday, the Biden administration, not Mr. Zelenskyy, has to make the case for additional Ukraine funding.
“He expressed his belief that Congress should ensure the Biden administration is held responsible.”
However, there are other Republicans in both the House and Senate who still support providing additional assistance but would like to know how the funds are being allocated.
“I cannot reword”
Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, acknowledged that there are disagreements within the conference regarding the financial support for Ukraine’s war efforts.
“I endorse the efforts of the Ukrainians in self-defense, but I would like to ascertain the amount of funds we have allocated previously, the rate at which they have been utilized, and the actual requirement,” he informed journalists. “My primary worry is that the Biden administration is not promptly providing the necessary weaponry for their success.”
Last week, a few Senate Republicans expressed their willingness to include funds for Ukraine in the temporary spending bill, which must be approved by September 30th to prevent a shutdown of the government.
However, house conservatives and moderates reached an agreement over the weekend on a temporary measure that does not allocate funds for Ukraine.
Mr. Cornyn stated that he believed Ukraine spending should not be included in a short-term spending bill, as it would only add unnecessary complexity.