If the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill is passed by Congress, it would mean that American taxpayers spent more than $110 billion on aid to Ukraine in less than one year.
Congress earlier this year passed $66 billion for Ukraine aid, and an additional $45 billion contained in the omnibus bill unveiled this week would bring the total to $111 billion.
The amount would exceed by tens of billions the estimated average the U.S. spent per year on a full-scale war in Afghanistan, which had more than a hundred thousand U.S. troops deployed to the country at one point.
The Biden administration has pledged to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes.”
The $45 billion in the omnibus spending bill is actually higher than the $37 billion requested by the Biden administration for Ukraine aid.
Nearly two dozen Republican senators supported moving forward on the omnibus: Sens. Roy Blunt (MO), John Boozman (MT), Shelley Moore-Capito (WV), Susan Collins (ME), John Cornyn (TX), Tom Cotton (AR), Lindsey Graham (SC), Chuck Grassley (IA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Mitch McConnell (KY), Jerry Moran (KS), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Rob Portman (OH), Mitt Romney (UT), Mike Rounds (SD), Marco Rubio (FL), Richard Shelby (AL), John Thune (SD), Tommy Tuberville (AL), Roger Wicker (MS), and Todd Young (IN).
The #Senate agreed to the motion to proceed to the omnibus 70-25.
GOP in favor: Blunt, Boozman, Capito, Collins, Cornyn, Cotton, Graham, Grassley, Hyde-Smith, McConnell, Moran, Murkowski, Portman, Romney, Rounds, Rubio, Shelby, Thune, Tuberville, Wicker & Young.
— Senate Press Gallery (@SenatePress) December 21, 2022
McConnell said during a press conference on Tuesday that the “number one priority” for Republicans is to provide more aid to Ukraine, Breitbart News’s Sean Moran reported.
“Providing assistance for Ukrainians to defeat the Russians is the number one priority for the United States right now according to most Republicans. That’s sort of how we see the challenges confronting the country at the moment,” he said.
A group of House lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), are threatening that when Republicans take the House next year, they will oppose any initiatives by Republican senators backing the bill.
The boost in spending for Ukraine would come as American public support for the war in Ukraine is waning.
A recent poll published by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on December 5 showed that although a majority of Americans still supported supplying Ukraine with arms and economic aid, only 40% supported indefinite aid for Ukraine, and a shrinking number said Washington should support Ukraine for “as long as it takes.”
According to the poll, 48% said the U.S. should support Ukraine for “as long as it takes,” versus 58% in July 2022.
Even Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk ran his own Twitter poll on Tuesday night, tweeting, “Should Congress approve the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill?”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the results were overwhelmingly “No.”
I’m in favor of a small spending bill to keep things running, but common sense suggests that it be the least amount required through the holidays.
Railroading through a giant spending bill that almost no one has read is unlikely to be in the best interests of the people.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 21, 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is planning to address Congress on Wednesday evening, as he attempts to rally support for more aid to Ukraine. He is also planning to visit the White House.
On my way to the US to strengthen resilience and defense capabilities of 🇺. In particular, @POTUS and I will discuss cooperation between 🇺 and 🇺🇸. I will also have a speech at the Congress and a number of bilateral meetings.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) December 21, 2022
He recently visited Ukrainian soldiers on the frontlines, telling them that although he was grateful for U.S. support, it is “not enough.”
BREAKING: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is preparing to visit Washington on Wednesday, according to three AP sources, in his first known trip outside the country since Russia's invasion began in February. https://t.co/dj0yuouwnD
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 20, 2022
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