In the wake of Kevin McCarthy’s ouster as House speaker, pro-proxy war lawmakers in the House and the Senate are mulling ways to authorize more Ukraine aid.
According to Defense News, multiple senators have proposed passing a massive aid package that would fund the proxy war through 2024 so it would not be impacted by next year’s elections. This plan would mean passing significantly more funding than the $24 billion President Biden has requested.
So far, Congress has authorized about $113 billion in spending on the conflict, which has covered about a year and a half of war. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said it would take about “$60 or $70 billion” to get Ukraine through 2024, not the $24 billion.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), chair of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, said the package they’re considering would fund the war for 15 months, bringing it into 2025. The package would help the Biden administration’s plans to continue supporting an open-ended conflict.
Getting a massive aid package through the House would be difficult as Republican opposition is growing. But doing so would ensure that Biden would have plenty of funds for the proxy war during the 2024 election season when the opposition could grow even more.
Defense News also reported that numerous House Republicans are floating the idea of tying the Ukraine aid to more spending for border security to entice GOP holdouts. Some House Democrats have expressed opposition to the idea, including Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee. “If you support Ukraine, get us a straight up-or-down vote on something to support them is what we’re pushing,” Smith said.
The majority of Congress still supports arming Ukraine, so any package is expected to pass once brought to a vote. The challenge for the hawks is getting it to the floor in the House, where opponents of the policy hold significant sway, as demonstrated by McCarthy’s ouster. No legislative action is expected to happen in the House until a new speaker is elected, which could happen next week.