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The Hill: Republicans remove Ukraine funding from US defense spending bill

by Martin Fornusek September 28, 2023 9:55 PM 2 min read
The U.S. House of Representatives and Capitol Dome on May 28, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images)
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House Republicans in U.S. Congress decided to strip $300 million in Ukraine aid from their defense spending bill in an effort to secure votes from their hardline members, The Hill reported on Sept. 28.

The House Rules Committee convened at night on Sept. 27 to remove the funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative from the defense spending package and instead had it stand as a separate bill, the outlet said.

The Republican Party was likely trying to secure the votes of hardline party members critical of the level of U.S. support for Ukraine. According to The Hill, the Democrats are expected to oppose the proposed package as a whole, making every Republican vote all the more valuable.

"There are some people who can't in good conscience take a vote for the (Defense Department appropriations) bill if it includes money for a war that they are morally opposed to," Republican lawmaker Thomas Massie said.

The announcement signals a reversal of the Party's previous statements, as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on Sept. 23 that Ukraine assistance will not be cut from the bill.

Preserving the funding for Ukraine as part of the defense spending package was even supported by the majority of House Republicans during a vote on Sept. 27.

The Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative is meant to provide funds for training, equipment, salaries, and other needs of the Ukrainian military.

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.

Ukraine has received over $76 billion in support from Washington between January 2022 and July 2023, including around $45 billion in military and security assistance.

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