America First Republicans Question Ukraine Military Aid Package (Newsmax)
By Brian Pfail | Thursday, 20 October 2022 05:37 PM EDT
Lawmakers for both parties are looking to seize the opportunity for Ukrainian military aid before newly elected members are sworn in.
This week House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is likely to take over as speaker if the GOP wins a majority in the House in the midterms, warned Republicans are "not going to write a blank check to Ukraine."
Last month, Congress approved $12 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine. Congress has already allocated a total of $65 billion in aid since Russia's attack in February. Sources believe the next package will be dramatically larger. A Republican senator told NBC News, "It'll make the $12 billion look like pocket change."
The package would likely be part of an omnibus spending bill within the range of $50 billion, according to congressional aides.
America First Republicans argue that such aid is not the top priority and that Americans are already dealing with many domestic problems. They also say Ukraine's fate is not directly tied to the U.S., and its European allies should be stepping up.
"You need to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others," said Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., to NBC News. "I just don't think as a legislator that I could, in good conscience, support billions and billions of funding going overseas when we have such dire needs here."
Republicans are split over the Ukraine issue. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., a member of the Appropriations Committee that controls spending, said it is absolutely necessary to provide weapons and other aid to prevent Russia's advancement.
Former Vice President Mike Pence referred to those against the aid as Russian "apologists" in an event with The Heritage Foundation on Wednesday.
He said, "There can be no room in the conservative movement for apologists to Putin." The former vice president is in company with others such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
A Democrat congressional aide said, "We are incredibly concerned that the MAGA wing of the party is planning to block lifesaving aid to Ukraine if Republicans take over the House."
Ukraine relies heavily on other nations for support. A cease in American aid could help the Russian front. Defense officials claim Ukraine burns through thousands of artillery rounds each day.