Republicans signal early $12 trillion in Ukraine aid, while expecting other Biden priorities to drop from funding bill

The Biden administration has requested $12 trillion in aid to Ukraine to add to the continuing resolution needed to keep the government open after September 30.

GOP support is essential because at least 10 Republican votes would be needed to break the filibuster attempt.

Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas said Monday evening that negotiators were still discussing a package for Ukraine, but that it would be about $11 trillion, including humanitarian, economic and military aid.

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he was “open to discussion” about adding $12 trillion to the Ukraine resolution, and Sen. Rick Scott of Florida. , another member of the jury, said he believes the aid should not be tied to him.

“I haven’t seen a detailed list of exactly how they want to spend the money,” Scott said of the administration’s latest request. “I think what we do in Ukraine, we should do it separately from the CR. I think we should have a clean CR that goes through the Congress.”

The discussions have come at a critical moment in Russia’s war in Ukraine. U.S. officials generally point to Ukraine’s last moment as evidence that the kind of weapons and intelligence the West has been providing in recent months has been effective.

Since the conflict began in February, the Biden administration has taken a more hands-off approach to supplying Ukraine with weapons — in some cases agreeing to send weapons that would have been too scalable later in the conflict.

His calculus has largely been based on avoiding systems that Russian President Vladimir Putin might consider too provocative, though those lines have shifted over time and have been called arbitrary by some former officials.

Sen. Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Monday that he hopes Congress will pass military aid to Ukraine in a continuing resolution, but is concerned that GOP aid to Ukraine could rust in the future.

“I think there will be a long-term erosion of Republican support for Ukraine. I think President Trump’s decision to attack aid to Ukraine and to attack Republicans who support it will have an impact,” Murphy told CNN.

“We’ll have enough support to get this across the finish line. But the long-term trajectory of Republican support for Ukraine is really threatening. What does that mean? If the Republicans win a majority in the House and the Republicans win the Senate, I don’t think you can count on Congress continuing to support Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, Cornyn, along with Sens. John Thune of South Dakota and Richard Shelby of Alabama, have indicated that the upcoming shutdown bill will not include money for Covid-19 relief, monkeypox vaccines or disaster recovery money; has been encouraged by the White House.

But all three are indicating that they may accept money for Ukraine, although the dollar figure has yet to be determined.

Another notable issue under discussion is streamlining and streamlining the environmental review process for energy projects — which the White House and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed to in exchange for support for Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s recently passed Inflation Reduction Act.

Republicans have criticized the deal, but have yet to say whether they will oppose the funding bill if it includes the measure — largely because its text has yet to be released.

Progressives have also warned that they will oppose the bill if their environmental concerns are included and that it could clear the way for a major pipeline project through Manchin’s home state of West Virginia.

CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.