Supporters of US aid to Ukraine are watching the turmoil in the House with growing alarm

Oct 4, 2023, 3:58 PM

Speaker of the House pro tempore Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., left, leaves the Speaker's office on...

Speaker of the House pro tempore Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., left, leaves the Speaker's office on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023 in Washington. Walking with McHenry is Rep. French Hill, R-Ark. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A path for additional U.S. aid to Ukraine appears increasingly fraught after the ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, with many House Republicans opposing help for the war-torn country as they search for a new leader.

Tuesday’s historic vote to remove McCarthy as speaker comes at a critical time, with a deadline for funding the government little more than a month away, and as opposition to aiding Ukraine’s defensive war against Russia slowly gains momentum among Republicans in both chambers of Congress.

Leaders dropped $6 billion in Ukraine aid from the temporary funding measure passed Saturday as they focused on passing it quickly, just hours before the government would have shut down.

Congress will have to figure out by mid-November how to pass another spending bill to keep the government open. Supporters of Ukraine aid — including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who visited the Capitol to plead for the money in person just two weeks ago — say it’s essential that additional funding is included.

But the House is leaderless for now, halting legislation. And it is unclear when the next speaker will be elected.

Because the eight Republican lawmakers who voted to oust McCarthy were upset with his decision to work with Democrats on funding the government, his successor will likely fight the Senate and House Democrats on many issues, including funding for Ukraine.

“It does worry me,” President Joe Biden said Wednesday. He said he would address Ukraine aid soon.

“We cannot and should not again be faced with an 11th hour decision of brinksmanship that threatens to shut down the government,” Biden said.

In the Senate, where bipartisan support for Ukraine is stronger, Democrats and Republicans also expressed alarm.

“The fight in Ukraine is a century-defining moment,” said Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut. “The rest of this century looks radically different if the United States abandons Ukraine. … If the decision in the House is to elect a speaker who will fight against Ukraine funding, that’s a decision that will be written about in the history books.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he hopes House Republicans “come to their senses.” If the U.S. can’t help a country that is willing to sacrifice its own people to fight Russia, Manchin said, then “God help us all.”

Senate Republicans who support Ukraine aid have increasingly said it should be tied to increased money or policy changes to help manage the southern U.S. border. They see the pairing as a possible compromise that could politically benefit members of both parties. But any dealmaking is on hold as House Republicans try to find a new leader.

“Because of the chaos in the House today, it makes it harder to talk about the failed Biden Presidency and address our broken southern border,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

So far, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise have both announced that they will run for speaker. Oklahoma Rep. Kevin Hern is also weighing a bid.

Jordan has made clear his opposition to additional Ukraine aid and reiterated it Wednesday. “The most pressing issue on Americans’ minds is not Ukraine, it is the border situation and crime on the streets and everybody knows that,” Jordan told reporters.

Before the Ukraine money was dropped from the temporary funding bill, the House last week approved $300 million for a program that provides Ukrainian troops with training on the use of American-made weapons systems. The vote that was set up to allow some Republicans to register their opposition.

More than half of the Republican conference, 117 of 221, voted against the measure, including Jordan and Hern. Scalise voted for it.

Hern said Wednesday that Biden needs to “sit down in a classified setting, and tell those of us that have not supported, for the same reason time and time again, we want to know what the American taxpayer dollars are going and what’s the end game.”

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., voted for the $300 million in training funding, but said the Biden administration needs to do a better job of making the case.

“People have had enough over here. They want to hear a plan. They want to hear a message. They want to understand what we’re doing. And there’s a case to be made. Go make the case,” Armstrong said.

Some Democrats weren’t sure if the situation was better or worse in McCarthy’s absence, noting that McCarthy was the one who dropped the Ukraine aid from the government funding bill.

“Let me put it this way, we’re no worse off,” said Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.

But House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who backs the assistance, said he knew that McCarthy was committed to funding Ukraine’s war because of his private conversations with him. Amid the chaos, he said, he fears that the government will shut down in November and that spending decisions will be punted until the end of the year in one massive funding package.

McCaul said support for Ukraine would be a major factor in whom he supports for speaker.

“It’s going to be even harder now with McCarthy gone,” McCaul said. “We’re running out of time.”


Associated Press writers Stephen Groves and Josh Boak and videojournalists Dan Huff and Nathan Ellgren contributed to this report.

United States News

A vendor selling Street Sense, a local paper that covers issues related to the homeless and employs...

Associated Press

Technology built the cashless society. Advances are helping the unhoused so they’re not left behind

WASHINGTON (AP) — John Littlejohn remembers the days when lots of people had a couple of dollars to spare to buy a copy of Street Sense, the local paper that covers issues related to the homeless and employs unhoused individuals as its vendors. Today, he’s finding fewer people are walking around with spare change. Even […]

10 minutes ago

Smoke rises from the Gaza Strip after Israeli strikes on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Leo Corr...

Associated Press

Israel presses on with Gaza bombardments, including in areas where it told civilians to flee

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli warplanes struck parts of the Gaza Strip overnight into Saturday in relentless bombardments, including some of the dwindling slivers of land Palestinians had been told to evacuate to in the territory’s south. The latest strikes came a day after the United States vetoed a United Nations resolution demanding an […]

6 hours ago

FILE - A marquee promoting a fundraiser with President Joe Biden is on display outside the Lunt-Fon...

Associated Press

Big money, fancy homes, old jokes — inside Joe Biden’s fundraisers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — If you’re a Democrat with money to burn and friends in high places, you can spend thousands on tickets to a fundraiser with President Joe Biden. If not, keep reading to see what you’re missing. With an election year around the corner, Biden is accelerating his fundraising to prepare for an […]

9 hours ago

FILE - Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., speaks to media about Israel, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, on Cap...

Associated Press

New US aid for Ukraine by year-end seems increasingly of out reach as GOP ties it to border security

WASHINGTON (AP) — A deal to provide further U.S. assistance to Ukraine by year-end appears to be increasingly out of reach for President Joe Biden. The impasse is deepening in Congress despite dire warnings from the White House about the consequences of inaction as Republicans insist on pairing the aid with changes to America’s immigration […]

9 hours ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidates from left, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov....

Associated Press

DeSantis, Haley and Ramaswamy will appear in northwest Iowa days after a combative GOP debate

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential candidates will cross paths again in Iowa just days after a fractious debate and as the countdown to the caucuses nears the one-month mark. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy will make their case — this time without the others […]

9 hours ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks to Texas state tr...

Associated Press

Appeals court upholds gag order on Trump in Washington case but narrows restrictions on his speech

A federal appeals court in Washington on Friday largely upheld a gag order on former President Donald Trump in his 2020 election interference case but narrowed the restrictions on his speech.

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @iamdamonallred...

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Follow @KTAR923...

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.


Dierdre Woodruff

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Supporters of US aid to Ukraine are watching the turmoil in the House with growing alarm