Stalemate in Congress Threatens Assistance to Ukraine
Republican leaders in the House and Senate are demanding conservative policy concessions on border security and asylum laws in exchange for aid to Ukraine. Democrats, however, consider these demands unreasonable given the ongoing migrant crisis. With both chambers of Congress scheduled to leave for the holidays in less than a week, a deal remains elusive.
“I’m deeply concerned that both Ukraine won’t pass. And I’m deeply concerned [what] message that sends to our allies, that the United States can’t live up to its commitments,” expressed Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla. “I don’t think Democrats are the issue here. It’s the chaos with the Republicans.”
Moskowitz pointed to the dysfunction within Republican ranks, exemplified by the withdrawal of a key program renewal from the expected vote schedule, as evidence of their inability to agree amongst themselves. He emphasized that Democrats and the president are willing to make a deal, but not at the expense of extreme and unreasonable measures.
On the other side, Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., blamed President Biden’s White House “for not having a plan for Ukraine to begin with.” Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., echoed this sentiment, stating that the House would not budge until satisfied with oversight of both the border and the funds allocated to Kyiv. He emphasized the need for appropriate oversight and a clear strategy to win, asserting that national security must take precedence.
Meanwhile, the Democrat-controlled Senate is preparing to vote on a $110 billion supplemental aid package, with approximately $61 billion designated for Ukraine. The package also includes funds for Israel and humanitarian causes in Gaza and other regions. The White House has warned that Ukraine could face severe consequences if aid is not replenished before the year’s end.
Rep. Glenn Ivey, D-Md., accuses Republicans of playing games with the emergency supplemental, expressing doubt that Ukraine aid or any other part of the package will pass Congress. “I don’t know when the Republican leadership is going to get its act together,” he expressed.
However, Rep. Jake Ellzey, R-Texas, remains optimistic and willing to find a way to pass both Ukraine aid and border security measures this year. He acknowledges that the administration must work harder to convince his colleagues and take into account Speaker Johnson’s terms for the deal.
In the end, the fate of aid for Ukraine hangs in the balance as both sides continue to clash and seek compromises.