Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said on Monday a Senate Republican package to provide additional Ukraine aid in supplemental spending is not “going anywhere” in the House.
McCarthy signaled to Punchbowl News that any additional aid for Ukraine’s protracted conflict with Russia would have to come from the annual appropriations process as part of the Pentagon’s $866 billion in discretionary spending, which was agreed to in the debt ceiling deal, otherwise known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
“I’m not going to pre-judge what some of them [in the Senate] do, but if they think they’re writing a supplemental because they want to go around an agreement we just made, it’s not going anywhere,” McCarthy said.
The speaker said that the appropriations process would allow lawmakers to decide to what degree the United States should grant aid to Ukraine.
The $113 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine has eclipsed the annual military budget of every country in the world except the United States and China. https://t.co/gqwjMZMXRF
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) December 26, 2022
“You first have to show, what do you need money for? We’ve got an approps process. We’re just going to work through an approps process. They’re not going to circumvent what we’re doing here,” he continued.
The United States has already appropriated more than $113 billion in military and economic aid for Ukraine.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act set a $866 billion spending cap, which enraged many hawkish Senate Republicans such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Graham and other hawkish Senate Republicans last week met in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) office to figure out a way around the defense spending caps. Subsequently, McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) agreed to consider additional spending requests for defense and non-defense spending.
McCarthy that these lawmakers seeking a runaround the spending agreements stipulated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act “are not paying attention to how the system works.”
“We will go through the appropriations process and we will do the numbers that we just agreed to,” he added.
Graham said that this is a “shame” and vowed to fight over this. He said he will work with other senators to find offsets elsewhere to boost defense topline spending.
The South Carolina Republican continued:
The speaker will never convince me that 2% below actual inflation is fully funding the Defense Department… That cannot be the position of the Republican Party without some contest here.
We’re playing a dangerous game with our national security. The bill [McCarthy] produced is inadequate to the threats we face. If the Republican speaker takes the position that we’re going to be tough on China…I don’t see how we do that with a declining Navy.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman said that the likeliness of a future Ukraine aid package depends on how Ukraine’s counteroffensive does against Ukraine:
This counteroffensive is going to be absolutely a game-changer one way or the other on whether or not Congress can pass a supplemental on Ukraine. If [the Ukrainians] are winning, Americans like to bet on a winning horse. If they’re losing, it’s going to be extremely difficult [to pass a supplemental].
Russia this week said it stopped a “large-scale offensive” by Ukrainian forces.
Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), a McCarthy ally, said, “I think there will be people who are supportive of funding Ukraine who would not be supportive of a supplemental. I don’t know how many that’ll be, but I do think that we’re in an environment where I think people are going to try to put some downward pressure on spending.”
Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.