On a day when Russian missiles struck energy infrastructure across his country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Washington, D.C., to make his renewed case for American aid to Ukraine to a deeply divided Congress preoccupied with a looming government shutdown.
Zelenskyy’s reception in Congress was emblematic of the division between the two chambers as an end-of-the-month deadline to pass a government spending bill approaches — with a $24 billion White House request for funding to Ukraine hanging in the balance.
Senate leaders offered their unified support, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and top Republican Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., both joined the president for a long and public walk to a meeting in the grand Old Senate Chamber. Dozens of senators from both parties attended the meeting.
It was a clear contrast to his reception in the House, where Republicans are split on aid to Ukraine over concerns that the war could drag on and questions about how previously appropriated money has been spent. While House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries walked the halls with Zelenskyy, Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., declined to join them for public photos amid calls by some members of his caucus to deny new funding.
“There was just a single sentence that summed it all up, and I’m quoting him verbatim. Mr. Zelenskyy said, ‘If we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war.’ That’s a quote,” Schumer said. [Continue reading…]