By Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com
President Biden on Sunday told Congress to “stop playing games” and authorize the additional $24 billion in Ukraine aid that he’s requested, which would bring total US spending on the proxy war to about $137 billion.
Biden’s comments came after Congress passed a stopgap funding bill at the last minute on Saturday to avert a partial government shutdown that did not include money for Ukraine. The White House wanted the $24 billion in Ukraine war spending to be included in the bill.
“We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted,” Biden said. “We have time, not much time, and there’s an overwhelming sense of urgency … The vast majority of both parties — Democrats and Republicans, Senate and House — support helping Ukraine and the brutal aggression that is being thrust upon them by Russia. Stop playing games, get this done.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) stripped Ukraine spending from the stopgap bill due to opposition from a small but loud minority of House Republicans who are against the proxy war. House Democrat leadership said they expect McCarthy to call a separate vote on Ukraine aid.
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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said on Saturday night that McCarthy “made a side Ukraine deal with Democrats and didn’t tell House Republicans” until after the stopgap bill was passed. President Biden also said on Sunday that he expects “the Speaker to keep his word and secure the passage of support for Ukraine at this critical moment.”
Gaetz, who has been a staunch opponent of the proxy war in Ukraine, has been publicly feuding with McCarthy and said on Sunday that he plans to move forward with an effort to unseat the speaker. “I do intend to file a motion to vacate against Speaker McCarthy this week,” Gaetz told CNN. “I think we need to rip off the Band-Aid. I think we need to move on with leadership that’s trustworthy.”
While Gaetz and other Republicans have made it difficult for Biden to get more money to spend on Ukraine, the majority of Congress still supports the proxy war, and the $24 billion is expected to easily pass once brought to a vote. But opposition is growing, and it will likely become harder and harder for the US to keep fueling the war as the conflict drags on.
Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.