Watch support for funding Ukraine erode among Republicans

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If the Republicans win the House in the midterm elections, their pledge is to look carefully at the money the United States is spending to help foot the bill — to the tune of billions in security aid — for Ukraine’s defense against Russian invasion.

Kevin McCarthy, who would likely be Speaker of the House in January if the Republicans won in November, still supports US aid. But if Republicans win the House, he said there would be no more « blank checks. »

President Joe Biden said McCarthy’s comments show today’s Republicans « have no sense of American foreign policy. »

“These guys don’t understand. It’s much bigger than Ukraine – it’s Eastern Europe. It’s NATO. These are real, serious, serious consequences,” Biden said Thursday at a fundraiser in Philadelphia for Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman.

Why the next few months are crucial for the future of the Ukrainian army

McCarthy said he was surprised on Wednesday that his questioning of aid to Ukraine caused a stir.

« Wouldn’t you want checks and balances in Congress? » Wouldn’t you want that hard-working taxpayer’s money, someone watching it? he said on CNBC.

It is wrong to paint Republicans with a paintbrush on this issue. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed his continued support for funding Ukraine and issued a statement on Friday promising that a GOP majority in the Senate would continue to help Ukraine in its war against Russia. .

But McCarthy’s suggestion that a Republican majority in the House could target funding for Ukraine could be part of a bigger shift in the war. And the split between McConnell and McCarthy on the issue could be a point of contention if the GOP takes control of the House.

McCarthy also said cutting spending in general would be Republicans’ top priority if they won control of the House.

Speaking on Fox on Thursday, pundit Laura Ingraham mocked former Vice President Mike Pence for calling the US the ‘arsenal of democracy’ and suggested the US military was too exhausted to help other countries.

She had a friendly guest in Pence’s fellow Indian, Rep. Jim Banks, who said the United States shouldn’t deplete its own arms cache to help a country in Europe. Keeping the weapons, he said, rather than putting them on the battlefield would help the United States stay stronger.

“That is the reality of the moment we find ourselves in today. We cannot put America first by giving blank checks to those around the world to solve their problems,” Banks said, echoing McCarthy’s language.

Lawmakers will have another chance to vote on funding for Ukraine, likely this year as part of a broader government funding bill.

The last time the House voted directly on aid to Ukraine, the vote was strongly in favor – 368-57. The no’s were all Republicans.

But you can feel the ground moving as a new wave of Republicans hopes to roll into Washington.

Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama lost a Republican nomination to run for the Senate in his state and said he felt attacked for voting in favor of Ukraine aid by his opponent Katie Britt and the former Trump adviser Steve Banon. Bannon, it should be noted, inspired many of former President Donald Trump’s policy positions and always opposed US funding of Ukraine.

« I stand by my vote and proud of it, » Brooks said on Twitter. “Putin must be stopped. At home, America must hold the political opportunists accountable.

The United States has committed more than any other country to Ukraine, according to a database of military, financial and humanitarian assistance maintained by the Kiel Institute for Mondial economy. As a percentage of GDP, the United States ranks sixth.

It has given a total of $18 billion in military aid to Ukraine since January 2021, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement last week, while announcing additional aid of $725 million.

From CNN’s report of the most recent $725 million authorized by the Biden administration:

The assistance includes high-velocity anti-radiation missiles (HARMs), anti-tank weapons and small arms as well as ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and small arms, according to a statement from Ministry of Defense press. The aid program also provides medical supplies, more than 200 high mobility vehicles and thousands of artillery shells and Remote Anti-Armor Mines (RAAM) systems.

Elon Musk, the billionaire who provided essential Starlink internet service to Ukrainian forces, tried to get the Pentagon to start footing the bill for that service before backing down earlier this week.

Musk voiced support for Ukraine but drew criticism when he suggested a peace plan in line with Russia’s interests in a recent tweet. Learn more about Starlink from CNN’s Alex Marquardt, who first reported that Musk was asking the Pentagon to foot the bill.

Even if Musk will not negotiate a peace plan and continue to provide internet services to Ukrainians, his recent actions could be another signal of the onset of fatigue in what has been mostly unified global support. Italy’s new governing coalition is expected to include former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who enjoyed friendly relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

None of this means there will be less support from the United States or the world for Ukraine, but it certainly does mean that powerful people – and people like McCarthy who may soon have much more power – are examining closer how much is spent. .

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