House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told reporters Monday that he will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Washington this week as Congress is debating new spending on the proxy war in Ukraine.
Zelensky arrived in New York on Monday where he will attend the UN General Assembly. After that, he’s headed to Washington where he will visit the White House and Capitol Hill.
Zelensky’s visit comes as Congress needs to pass a funding bill by September 30 to avert a government shutdown, and Democrats are looking to include the $24 billion in additional spending on the Ukraine war that President Biden recently requested.
But McCarthy has put forward a continuing resolution for the short-term funding bill that does not include the $24 billion for Ukraine, which will be dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate. McCarthy is also unsure if his resolution will be passed by the House as some Republicans have come out against it due to spending levels.
Democrats in the House are expected to vote down McCarthy’s resolution since it doesn’t include the Ukraine spending, so he could only afford to lose four Republican votes. According to ABC News, about a dozen House GOP members have signaled they will vote against the measure.
Zelensky will make a pitch for the US to spend more on the war, but when asked if the Ukrainian leader’s visit could alter his resolution to include the Ukraine aid, McCarthy told reporters, “No.”
The new spending on the war in Ukraine is expected to be authorized by Congress eventually, but a loud minority of House Republicans opposed to the policy, mainly in the Freedom Caucus, can delay the package. McCarthy has been a staunch supporter of the proxy war in Ukraine, but if he loses the support of too many Republicans, he could lose his speakership, giving Freedom Caucus members leverage to work with.