Republicans on Wednesday blocked an emergency spending bill to fund the war in Ukraine, demanding strict new border restrictions in exchange and severely jeopardizing President Biden’s push to replenish the war chests of American allies before the end of the year.
The failed vote highlighted waning support in the United States for continuing to fund Ukraine’s war effort at a perilous time in the conflict, with Kyiv’s counteroffensive failing to meet its objectives and Russia’s forces on the offensive. While the bill faltered over an unrelated immigration policy dispute, the resistance it has met in Congress reflects a dwindling appetite among Republicans for backing Ukraine, as polls show that Americans are losing interest in providing financial assistance.
In the Senate, the vote to move forward on the bill was 49 to 51, short of the 60-vote threshold needed to advance.
Republicans held ranks against the $111 billion bill, which would provide about $50 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, more for economic and humanitarian aid, and another $14 billion toward arming Israel in its war against Hamas. They voted no despite a series of last-ditch appeals from Democrats and an appeal by Mr. Biden, who said he was prepared to offer “significant compromises” on the border and scolded them for abandoning Ukraine in its hour of need.
“Make no mistake: Today’s vote’s going to be long remembered, and history is going to judge harshly those who turned their backs on freedom’s cause,” Mr. Biden said on Wednesday at the White House, just hours before the vote. He said Republicans were “willing to literally kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield and damage our national security in the process.”
The demise of the legislation in the Senate meant that Ukraine was exceedingly unlikely to be able to secure the additional American aid before the end of the year — and possibly beyond. White House and Ukrainian officials have been sounding alarms in recent days, telling lawmakers that without an influx of weapons, Kyiv will run out of resources to defend against Russia’s invading army by the end of the year. [Continue reading…]