GOP House Divided as It Faces First Big Test: Whether or Not to Defund Ukraine


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https://sputniknews.com/20221120/gop-house-divided-as-it-faces-first-big-test-whether-or-not-to-defund-ukraine-1104472043.html

GOP House Divided as It Faces First Big Test: Whether or Not to Defund Ukraine

GOP House Divided as It Faces First Big Test: Whether or Not to Defund Ukraine

Ahead of the November 8 midterms, Republicans from both the traditional and MAGA wings of the party vowed to slash Ukraine aid, or at least reign in spending… 20.11.2022, Sputnik International

2022-11-20T19:14+0000

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Fresh off their midterm victory in the House, the GOP has run up against the first big test of party unity as they prepare to convene the new congress in early January: Ukraine funding.“I think we’re gonna have to resolve that issue,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota said, referring to divisions over whether or not to support the Biden administration’s latest request for $37 billion in new aid to Kiev.According to calculations by the Kiel Institute for World Economy, US military and economic assistance for Ukraine topped $60 billion by early October, with approved Congressional spending reaching $65.9 billion via three separate supplemental spending packages. The $37 billion would bring total US support to more than $100 billion, plus tens of billions more from Washington’s NATO allies.“There’s strong bipartisan support for supporting Ukraine, but I think there’s also an interest in having accounting for the dollars that have already been spent,” Thune said, hinting that the $37 billion issue may have to be resolved by the next Congress that comes in in the New Year.Democratic leaders have urged for the new spending to be approved as soon as possible, with Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the chamber’s Appropriations Committee, saying Tuesday that he was sure the Ukraine support could be stuffed into the $1.7 trillion omnibus budget bill. Doing so would make it difficult to separate the cash for Ukraine from other spending. This is a tactic commonly used by both parties to push little-known or unpopular spending through without much of a public uproar.GOP lawmakers including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy – a former pro-MAGA Republican who flipped after January 6, have promised to stop writing “blank checks” to Kiev if the party was in charge.Rand Paul, the Kentucky Senator from the GOP’s small libertarian wing, who temporarily held up $40 billion in assistance in May in protest of the spending package’s gargantuan size, is also expected to oppose any new spending.Days before the November 8 vote, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia lawmaker from the pro-Trump wing of the party who has made a name for herself opposing Ukraine aid, warned that support for Kiev would drop to zero if the GOP took Congress. “Under Republicans, not another penny will go to Ukraine. Our country comes first,” she said. Greene joined 56 other House Republicans and 11 GOP senators in voting against Ukraine assistance in May.“I voted ‘no’ from the beginning, and I’ll continue to vote ‘no’,” Greene said at a press conference last week, shortly after winning her bid for reelection in Georgia’s 14th congressional district.However, traditional Republicans including Utah Senator Mitt Romney, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky have vowed to continue marching lockstep with the Democrats on Ukraine.”If we don’t get Ukraine right, there goes Taiwan. I promise you that a majority of Republican senators are fully committed to seeing this through,” Graham said at a virtual event at Yale featuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in late October.Ukraine needs “additional air defenses, long-range fires, and humanitarian and economic support,” McConnell said in a statement last month.Amid public pressure, the State Department has set up an audit of assistance sent to Kiev, and it was revealed recently that the Pentagon had dispatched a “small number” of troops to Ukraine to check where support was going amid complaints from allies that weapons had somehow found themselves in use by criminal gangs in Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands.Moscow has warned for months that aid to Kiev could end up in the hands of criminal and terrorist elements, and that Western support for Ukraine threatens to prolong the conflict and escalate into a broader NATO-Russia war, as nearly occurred last week when a Ukrainian air defense missile initially claimed to be a Russian one landed in rural Poland, killing two. Russia has also indicated that the scope of American aid to Kiev makes it a de-facto participant in the conflict.This week, media asked the Biden administration uncomfortable questions about alleged connections between Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the now-defunct cryptocurrency company FTX, the Democratic Party, and Ukraine. It has been alleged that FTX served as a gigantic money-laundering operation, with millions of dollars transferred to Ukraine said to have come back to the US to fund Democratic Party candidates. FTX allegedly spent nearly $72 million to both parties ahead of the midterms, with the majority of the money going to Democrats, with Bankman-Fried listed as the party’s second-largest donor after George Soros. Democrats have dismissed these reports as a baseless conspiracy theory.

https://sputniknews.com/20221115/ex-us-senate-candidate-not-optimistic-republicans-can-block-ukraine-aid-in-next-congress-1104264544.html

https://sputniknews.com/20221104/marjorie-taylor-greene-says-ukraine-aid-will-drop-to-zero-if-gop-takes-congress-1103796321.html

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