Two key bipartisan senators Thursday promised continued “broad support” in Congress for Ukraine following a visit in Kyiv with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other top officials.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., made the comments amid increasing disagreement among Republicans over aid for Ukraine in its war against a Russian invasion. The U.S. has already provided $65 million in aid to the country.
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“We are here today to underscore the broad support that continues to exist in Congress for the Ukrainian people,” Portman and Coons said in a statement Thursday.
“We met with President Zelenskyy to discuss Ukraine’s needs as it continues to defend itself against this brutal Russian invasion and to show American solidarity with the Ukrainian people,” the senators added. “President Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude to the American people for the critical security, economic, and humanitarian assistance we continue to provide, and we saw how this assistance saves lives when we toured a World Food Programme food distribution center.”
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Congress appears likely to consider yet more funding for the war in its lame-duck session after the midterms. But many Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. – who may be the House speaker in January if Republicans are able to win control of the House – are now questioning if continued high-level U.S. funding for Ukraine is wise.
“I think people are going to be sitting in a recession, and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” McCarthy recently told Punchbowl News.
Many members of McCarthy’s House GOP conference feel the same, as do some GOP senators. Portman, who is retiring, may be replaced by Republican candidate JD Vance, who opposes continued aid to Ukraine.
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But the vast majority of Congress – including nearly all Democrats – is likely to support an effort to sent more aid to Ukraine in the coming months.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has also reaffirmed his support for U.S. aid to Ukraine.