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If Republicans win the House in the midterm elections, their commitment is to take a hard look at the money the US spends – along with billions in security assistance – for Ukraine’s defense against a Russian invasion.
Kevin McCarthy, who would likely become House Speaker in January if the Republicans win in November, still supports US aid. But if Republicans win the House, he said, there will be no more “blank checks.”
President Joe Biden said McCarthy’s comments show that today’s Republicans “have no sense of American foreign policy.”
“These guys don’t understand. It is much bigger than Ukraine, it is Eastern Europe. It’s NATO. The real results are serious and serious,” Biden said Thursday in Philadelphia for Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman.
McCarthy expressed surprise that the question about Ukraine aid on Wednesday caused an uproar.
“Wouldn’t you like a balance in Congress? Wouldn’t you want that money from hard workers, with someone overseeing it?’ he said on CNBC.
It is wrong to paint Republicans with a single brush on this issue. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed consistent support for Ukraine funding and released a statement Friday saying the Senate GOP majority will continue to support Ukraine in its war against Russia.
But McCarthy’s suggestion that a Republican majority in the House could direct Ukraine funding could be part of a larger shift in the war. And the split between McConnell and McCarthy could be a point of contention if the GOP wins control of the House.
McCarthy also said that overall, cutting spending will be a top priority for Republicans if they win control of the House.
Speaking on Fox Thursday, pundit Laura Ingraham mocked former Vice President Mike Pence for referring to the US as an “arsenal of democracy” and suggested the US military is too depleted to be helping other countries.
He had a friendly guest in Pence’s home state of Indiana, Rep. Jim Banks, who said the U.S. should not use up its weapons arsenal to help a European country. He said keeping the weapons instead of putting them on the battlefield would help the US become stronger.
“That is the reality of this moment we live in today. We cannot put America first by giving blank checks to the rest of 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 larger government funding bill.
The last time the House voted directly on aid to Ukraine, the vote was overwhelmingly favorable: 368-57. The no votes were all Republicans.
But you can feel the ground moving as a new wave of Republicans hopes to enter Washington.
Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama lost the Republican nomination for Senate in his state and said he felt attacked by his opponent Katie Britt and former Trump advisers for voting to support aid to Ukraine. Steve Bannon. Bannon, it must be said, has inspired many of the political positions of former President Donald Trump and has consistently opposed US funding for Ukraine.
“I stand by my vote and I’m proud of it,” Brooks said on Twitter. “Putin must be stopped. At home, America must hold political opportunists accountable.”
The US has committed more to Ukraine than any other country, according to a database of military, financial and humanitarian aid. It is maintained by the Kiel Institute World Economy As a percentage of GDP, the US ranks sixth.
A total of 18 billion dollars in military aid has been given to Ukraine since January In 2021, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement last week Announcing an additional $725 million in aid.
From the CNN report on the $725 million authorized by the Biden administration:
The support includes high-velocity anti-radiation missiles (HARMs), anti-tank weapons and small arms, and ammunition and small arms for high-mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), according to a Department of Defense press release. The aid package includes medical supplies, more than 200 high-mobility vehicles and thousands of artillery rounds and remote anti-armor (RAAM) systems.
Elon Musk, the billionaire who has provided the critical Starlink internet service to Ukrainian forces, tried to get the Pentagon to start footing the bill for the service before backing down earlier this week.
Musk has expressed support for Ukraine, but drew criticism when he proposed a peace plan based on Russia’s interests in a recent tweet. Read more on Starlink CNN’s Alex Marquardt first reported that Musk was asking the Pentagon to foot the bill.
Even if Musk won’t push for a peace plan and will continue to provide Internet service to Ukrainians, his latest actions could be another sign of the fatigue of what has largely been unified global support. Italy’s new governing coalition is expected to include former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who has been on friendly terms with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
That doesn’t mean there will be less US or world support for Ukraine, but it certainly means that powerful people – and people like McCarthy may soon have more power – are looking at how much is being spent. .