McConnell Says Arming Ukraine Is ‘Number One Priority’ for Most Republicans

The majority of Senate Republicans signaled they won't oppose the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill that includes $45 billion for Ukraine

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said that arming Ukraine was the “number one priority” for most Republicans as Congress unveiled a massive $1.7 trillion funding bill that includes new spending for the war.

McConnell said at a press conference that the military expenditures included in the bill are “making sure the Defense Department can deal with the major threats coming from Russia and China, providing assistance for the Ukrainians to defeat the Russians.”

“That’s the number one priority for the United States right now, according to most Republicans,” McConnell added. The omnibus bill includes $858 billion for the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act and another $45 billion for Ukraine aid, bringing total US spending on the war to about $112 billion.

While some other Senate Republicans said they weren’t happy with the massive $1.7 trillion bill, they signaled they wouldn’t block the legislation, which needs to pass by Friday to avoid a government shutdown. For his part, McConnell heaped praise on the bill.

“So admittedly, I’m pretty proud of the fact that with a Democratic president, a Democratic House and Democratic Senate, we were able to achieve through this omnibus spending bill essentially all of our priorities,” McConnell said.

With Republicans set to take over the House in January, there has been some concern from Democrats that it might be harder to pass future Ukraine aid. While there are growing calls for oversight, the vast majority of Republicans support arming Ukraine, and Republican leadership has criticized the Biden administration for not sending Kyiv longer-range weapons.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.