Lawmakers in the US are currently in the process of negotiating a deal to provide aid to Ukraine, but as the holidays approach, this process is ongoing.
Capitol Hill —
The United States Congress is quickly approaching a deadline to approve a fresh assistance plan for Ukraine, while members of the Senate have been diligently working over the weekend to reach a compromise on border security funding in exchange for support from Republican representatives.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stated on the Senate floor that the talks would require a significant amount of time.
Schumer stated that it is a widely acknowledged fact that our flawed immigration system needs to be addressed. However, we must not compromise our principles while doing so. Striking a balance is a difficult task, and both parties must be willing to make compromises. It will also require additional time to achieve a resolution.
During a Senate session on Monday, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, stated that Senate Republicans will not compensate for others arriving late to the negotiating table by disregarding their duty to thoroughly discuss and evaluate any agreement before voting on it. This was in reference to the criticism from Republicans that the White House joined in on negotiations at a late point.
McConnell extended the potential voting period beyond the holiday season.
He expressed his optimism about our colleagues’ dedication to continue making consistent advancements in their negotiations in the upcoming week and beyond.
The US has allocated over $100 billion to equip and assist Ukraine after Russia’s large-scale invasion in February 2022. President Joe Biden has requested a further $60 billion from Congress. Yet, Republican members of Congress are growing doubtful about the necessity of further funding Ukraine’s defense.
In recent weeks, Republicans in the Senate have conditioned approval of any additional money for Ukraine on the simultaneous strengthening of immigration rules aimed at reducing the number of people entering the U.S. at its southern border and expelling some who are already in the country.
A handful of legislators from the two political parties, accompanied by delegates from the Biden administration, are aiming to come to a consensus that will garner sufficient backing from both sides to safeguard it from potential obstacles in the legislative process.
The last day of the year for the U.S. Senate was originally planned for last Thursday, but the schedule was changed to make room for additional negotiations. The House of Representatives has finished their session for the year, but may return to vote if an agreement is reached.
As of the morning of Monday, legislators had yet to reach a consensus on the proposed legislation, making a vote seem less and less probable.
House wants more
If a deal is approved by the Senate, it is unlikely to be approved by the House due to the Republicans’ slim majority. Many Republican House members are against giving more assistance to Ukraine, and the party recently removed a speaker who worked with Democrats to pass laws.
The current House Speaker, Mike Johnson, who replaced Kevin McCarthy, believes that increasing funding for the border is crucial for any assistance provided to Ukraine. However, he also desires stricter stipulations to be included in the aid package.
This week, he stated that the Biden administration is requesting billions of extra funds without proper monitoring, lacking a definite plan for success, and providing no satisfactory responses that the American public deserves.
The European Union’s assistance has been halted; Putin is commemorating.
Concerns over ongoing financial assistance from the United States to Ukraine heightened on Friday following the termination of another crucial form of aid. While the European Union deliberated on a proposed aid package of over $50 billion, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban exercised his veto power to block the plan.
Orban’s decision was made the day after Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly acknowledged the apparent decline in support for Ukraine in the Western world.
According to The Associated Press, a statement was made that Ukraine’s production is currently minimal and they are making efforts to maintain some level of production. However, they primarily rely on imported goods and do not produce much themselves. It is possible that this reliance on free imports will eventually come to an end, and it appears that this process is gradually beginning.
Many critics of providing aid to Ukraine dismiss it as a “blank check” given to the Ukrainian government, but the majority of the aid consists of military equipment. The monetary amounts in these aid packages primarily reflect the expenses incurred in the U.S. to purchase weapons from manufacturers and send them to Ukraine.
There is no denying that a substantial delay in receiving more funding from the United States would have a negative impact on Ukraine’s performance in battle. However, experts have varying opinions on when the consequences of such delay would become noticeable.
Based on my understanding, there is enough funds in the presidential drawdown authority for the Biden administration to supply weapons to Ukraine for a few more weeks, until January. According to Nicholas Lokker, a research associate at the Center for a New American Security, the funds will begin to deplete in January.
According to Lokker, Ukraine is currently facing a shortage of artillery shells and air defense munitions. If the U.S. were to cut off or significantly delay aid, it would worsen these shortages.