Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is said to be arranging to join Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S. at an event in Kentucky on Monday as part of his strong efforts to secure $61.4 billion in American taxpayer aid for Ukraine.
According to reports, McConnell will appear with Ambassador Oksana Markarova at the University of Louisville to “again publicly commit the United States to Kyiv’s defense against Russia,” as part of his push.
McConnell’s support of Ukraine sets him at odds with certain members in his own caucus, along with House Republicans who oppose sending any additional funds to Ukraine following the $113 billion the U.S. has already committed since February 2022.
The $61.4 billion for Ukraine would be part of a larger package requested by the Biden administration for $105 billion. Of that, $14.3 billion would go to Israel, $13.6 billion to the U.S.’s southern border, $9.15 billion for humanitarian aid for Palestinian, Israeli, and Ukrainian civilians, and $7.4 billion to Taiwan and Asian allies.
New Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson allegedly wants to separate funding for Israel and Ukraine, versus tying it together into one package, and could pass an Israel-only funding bill and send it to the Senate, forcing its hand and splitting Senate Republicans who also oppose tying the two together.
As reported by Politico, McConnell might be in his final term as the Senate GOP leader, and securing funding for Ukraine could be a “huge part of his legacy.”
Senate Minority Whip John Thune told the outlet that McConnell “is a profound believer that this is a moment in history that the United States needs to assert leadership. And that if we don’t, there are going to be some pretty grave consequences.”
Politico also reported that McConnell’s pitch that Ukraine funding is a jobs and readiness program is “resonating” in the White House, which is “shifting gears in its sales pitch to Congress.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised McConnell, saying his work with him is going “very good.”
“We have the same belief: We should get the big supplemental done,” Schumer stated.
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