Lazy eyes listen
Any assistance to Ukraine should be excluded from a stopgap US spending package in order to avert a government shutdown, according to US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Saturday is the deadline for MPs to reach an agreement on the federal budget and avoid a crisis that would halt critical programmes and cause payment delays for government employees, among other things.
The House failed to pass a last-minute bill to extend government financing beyond September 30 on Friday. It was defeated 232-198, with all Democrats and 21 of McCarthy’s fellow Republicans voting against it.
“I think if we had a clean one without Ukraine on it, we could probably be able to move that through,”
the House speaker told CNN after the vote.
McCarthy warned that if “the Senate puts Ukraine on there and focuses on Ukraine over America, I think – I think that could cause real problems.”
In a later message on X (formerly Twitter), he reiterated that the “misguided” bill from the Senate, which includes aid for Kiev, has “no path forward and is dead on arrival.”
McCarthy, on the other hand, stated that the House will continue to work “around the clock” to find a way to keep the government open.
According to the Republican leadership in the lower chamber, more votes on the topic are planned on Saturday.
As a consequence of negotiations between parliamentarians earlier this week, support for Ukraine was reportedly reduced from $25 billion to $6.2 billion. However, many Republican hardliners believe it should be removed totally from the budget.
If Congress fails to enact a new budget package, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby warned this week that the Pentagon would only be able to defend Ukraine for “a few weeks.”
Last week, McCarthy rejected Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s request to address the House during his visit to the US, as he did the previous year when the chamber was under Democratic leadership. The two held talks behind closed doors instead.
Prior to the meeting, House speaker said he had demanded that Zelensky explain what Kiev was doing with the billions already provided by Washington since the start of the conflict with Moscow. McCarthy said taxpayers were asking: “Where’s the accountability on the money we’ve already spent? What is the plan for victory?”
Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky told The Economist that he was “sensing” weakening support for his country from the West. This week, Ukraine’s Finance Minister Sergey Marchenko admitted that the number of those willing to give Kiev money was “growing smaller and smaller” and that “there are many questions about how much taxpayers in those countries are willing to finance us.”
Meanwhile, the head of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, Aleksey Danilov, suggested that the West should tell Kiev exactly how long it is planning to support it.