The future of US aid to Ukraine remains murky as a split Congress continues to quarrel over how much support Kyiv should receive in its fight against Russia’s full-scale invasion.

What’s the latest?

President Biden wants Congress to quickly pass billions of dollars in new aid for both Israel and Ukraine, but the Republican-controlled lower chamber on Thursday is set to consider a bill that puts Kyiv on the back burner.

Debate over the funding request is beginning in earnest after a weeks-long delay while House Republicans struggled to name a new speaker, and it is unclear what, if anything, can get through both chambers, AFP reports.

Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress want to promptly adopt military aid for Israel, a long-standing US partner at war with Hamas.

Things get more complicated, however, when it comes to Ukraine.

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What’s the complication?

In the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold only a slim majority, a few far-right conservatives have demanded an immediate end to Ukraine funding.

The chamber is only just emerging from an unprecedented three-week paralysis, after the previous Republican speaker was removed with votes from the same far-right group.

The situation is drastically different in the Democrat-controlled Senate, where most Republicans have voiced support for boosting aid to Ukraine.

“The idea that supporting the fight against Russian aggression detracts from other security priorities is false,” top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said recently.

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Kirby denied that US troops could be sent for demining, arms production or cyber operations, as French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne had suggested Western troops could be.

What’s Biden’s latest move?

Aware that war fatigue is growing in some US political circles, Biden has decided to couple his aid request for Ukraine – over $61 billion – with that for Israel, around $14 billion.

The 80-year-old Democrat has also asked for some $9 billion to respond to international humanitarian crises, including in the Gaza Strip, while sweetening the deal for conservatives with billions of dollars requested for US border security and projects aimed at countering China.

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In total, the package amounts to $106 billion.

“I requested a security package from Congress that allows us to honor both humanitarian and defense aid,” Biden said on X.

“Durable peace depends on it.”

How have Republicans reacted to the proposal?

House Republican leaders, balking at the price tag of the president's request and divided over Ukraine, plan to hold a vote Thursday on a bill solely for Israel.

“We cannot allow the brutality and unspeakable evil that is happening against Israel right now to continue,” said Mike Johnson of Louisiana, the new speaker who was practically an unknown on the national stage until his election.

He wants measures to support other US partners to be discussed later.

What can Biden do?

According to Bloomberg, Biden will veto the bill on aid to Israel without Ukraine. One Democrat said it would be “dead” on arrival even if it was passed by the House of Representatives.

How dire is the situation for Ukraine?

Potentially very. According to reports, the US only has $5.4 billion left for Kyiv’s armed forces.

Washington is Kyiv's biggest military backer, having committed tens of billions of dollars since Russia invaded in February 2022.

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But Biden's pledge of undisrupted financial support, reiterated during President Zelensky's visit to Washington in September, looks to be in jeopardy.

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Comments (2)

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Johnny AppleSeed
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According to this "report" it's only the "far right" wants to stop funding war? odd.

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Jack Griffin
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The new House Speaker Mike Johnson is no different than President Truman in that he has a Jewish constituency in America. He does not have a Ukrainian constituency. But he is a facilitator, not a dictator like Pelosi. Congressman Mike Garcia’s bill will see the light of day as a bipartisan force exists in both the House and the Senate that sees the importance of Ukraine prevailing. In fact the Senate with just a narrow majority has stated they will not take up a funding bill for Israel unless it includes funding for Ukraine.

Any mention of Joe BRIBEn vetoing any bill is jumping the gun. The majorities in both chambers are narrow thin and the serious subject matter demands both chambers reconcile as quickly as possible with politics standing on the sidelines.

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