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House Republican Confident Ukraine Package Will Get Approved

Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX) YouTube/Screenshot

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the GOP chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed confidence on Friday that the House would approve U.S. military aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, as per reporting by The Hill. He noted Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) faces significant challenges due to opposition within the GOP, particularly from members against foreign spending.

McCaul outlined Johnson’s options: either bring the aid package to the floor, risking backlash from the far right, or allow a discharge petition to force the vote, which could weaken his leadership. This situation puts Johnson in a difficult position, especially as some GOP members resist the aid due to concerns over spending and priorities, including the crisis at the southern border. It is essential to point out that Congressional Republicans, following former President Donald Trump’s urging, recently rejected a bipartisan border bill that included many provisions Republicans have long sought. Trump reportedly holds the view that allowing the border crisis to persist will make American voters more likely to support his candidacy in 2024.

Despite GOP resistance, McCaul emphasized the importance of supporting Ukraine, stating it’s a false choice between focusing on the southern border and supporting Ukraine. He argued that the U.S. can address both issues, underlining Ukraine’s significance to national security and its impact on relations with China and Iran.

The Senate’s $95 billion aid package faced opposition, deemed “dead on arrival” by House leaders due to its lack of immigration policy changes. McCaul highlighted the urgency of passing aid for Ukraine to support its counteroffensive against Russia, indicating the House’s focus on government funding before addressing Ukraine aid.

McCaul also mentioned that Johnson values the advice of national security leaders within the House. However, the final form of the aid package remains uncertain, with McCaul criticizing a proposal linking immigration policy changes to military assistance as not well thought out. He suggested modifications to the Senate’s package to gain broader support, including using frozen Russian assets for Ukraine’s reconstruction and exploring loans for economic assistance.

Former President Trump’s influence looms large, with McCaul noting Trump’s ability to sway GOP members on the issue. Trump’s opposition to a bipartisan immigration-Ukraine proposal underscored the political dynamics at play, with the House seeking to leave its mark on the aid package rather than simply adopting the Senate’s version. It remains uncertain whether Trump, who has consistently opposed Ukraine and supported Russia, would allow Congressional Republicans to back any bill that strengthens Ukraine’s position against Russia.

McCaul believes a loan program for Ukraine could garner support, indicating ongoing discussions with Trump about such measures. Despite these efforts, the passage of the aid package hinges on reconciling internal GOP divisions and aligning the party’s stance with broader U.S. national security interests.