The Biden administration says it’ll keep working with Congress to support Kiev regardless of the outcome of November’s vote
The extensive assistance provided by Washington to Ukraine amid its conflict with Russia may be cut if the Republican Party takes control of Congress in the midterm elections on November 8, Axios has reported.
Even the harshest critics of Vladimir Putin among the Republicans now acknowledge that there’s been a “noticeable shift away from what was once a broad bipartisan consensus” on providing aid to Kiev, the outlet reported on Wednesday.
It cited House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who told Punchbowl News earlier this week: “I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine. They just won’t do it.” Ukraine might be important, but it can’t be the only thing on the agenda of the US administration, he insisted.
Republican Congressman Don Bacon also said he’d “noticed” a decline in support for Ukraine. “You see it a little bit on social media, you see it with some of our members,” he said.
Bacon’s colleague Kelly Armstrong told Axios that the mood swing was likely a result of the feedback that the lawmakers had been getting from their constituents. “When people are seeing a 13% increase in grocery prices; energy, utility bills doubling… if you’re a border community and you’re being overrun by migrants and fentanyl, Ukraine is the furthest thing from your mind,” he pointed out.
The website also cited a senior House Republican, who claimed that “after the $40 billion [in aid package in May], there were a lot of Republicans saying: ‘This is the last time I’m going to support Ukraine funding.’”
In a comment to Axios, Congressman Jim Banks, who chairs the Republican Study Committee (RSC), pointed out that his party is going to focus on domestic issues after the midterms. “RSC believes you can’t lead abroad when you’re so weak at home. Our GOP agenda in the new majority needs to secure our own border and get America back on our feet by addressing energy cost and inflation,” he explained.
Asked to comment on McCarthy’s remarks, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre insisted that the Biden administration would “continue to work with Congress, as we have these past several months, on these efforts and support Ukraine as long as it takes.” Jean-Pierre reminded that this was a “commitment” that Joe Biden made to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
White House aides told Politico on Wednesday that the Biden administration hadn’t warned Kiev about the possibility of US aid coming to an end in the event that Republicans take control of at least one chamber of Congress after the election. However, officials in Kiev are aware that this may happen, they said.
The US has been Kiev’s biggest backer since the outbreak of its conflict with Russia in late February, providing Kiev with more than $16.8 billion in military aid, including sophisticated hardware such as HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, M777 howitzers, and combat drones.
Moscow has been decrying those weapons deliveries, saying they only prolong the fighting and increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO.