Republican Party leaders in the U.S. Congress consider cutting Ukraine support from their long-term defense spending bill to satisfy hardliners and unlock the gridlock, CNN reported on Sept. 21, citing two undisclosed sources.
The procedural vote failed to pass earlier today in the House of Representatives because of the hardliners' opposition to $300 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, the news outlet said.
The U.S. has funded aid through this initiative since the Russian occupation of Crimea in 2014.
According to CNN, the bill specifies that the assistance can be used for training, equipment, lethal assistance, logistics support, supplies, services, salaries, stipends sustainment, and intel. Several other countries are reportedly included as beneficiaries as well.
As the news outlet commented, it is unclear whether cutting Ukraine spending from the bill would pass through Republican Party moderates and defense hawks.
The discussion over the bill is taking place just as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Washington D.C. to meet with senior Congress members, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and President Joe Biden.
The U.S. president is hoping to secure Congress' approval for another bill that would release an additional $24 billion in funding for Ukraine. This proposition is also facing opposition from the right flank of the Republican Party.
Washington is leading the allied effort in support of Ukraine's struggle against Russian aggression. However, the growing opposition from the hardline elements of the Republican Party put the future of this support into doubt.
The U.S. is heading for the next presidential election in 2024, and several leading Republican candidates, including former President Donald Trump, have criticized Biden for devoting too much attention and resources to Ukraine.