House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Saturday backtracked and said he will keep the $300 million of Ukraine aid in the Pentagon funding bill.
On Friday it was reported that the Pentagon will exempt Ukraine funding from a possible government shutdown as House Republicans argue over the stopgap bill.
“The Pentagon will exempt its Ukraine operations from a potential shutdown if lawmakers can’t agree on a deal to fund the government by the end of the month, allowing key training and other activities in support of Kyiv’s forces to move ahead uninterrupted, according to a Defense Department spokesperson,” Politico reported.
“But if lawmakers fail to reach an agreement and government appropriations lapse, DOD has decided to continue activities supporting Ukraine, DOD spokesperson Chris Sherwood told POLITICO Thursday — just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley and other senior leaders at the Pentagon.” according to Politico.
McCarthy on Saturday said he will keep Ukraine aid in the Pentagon appropriations bill just one day after vowing to strip the funding.
“That’s not solving it because one of the others has some Ukraine things,” McCarthy said of stripping the Ukraine aid out of the Pentagon appropriations bill. “So it became too difficult to do that so we’re leaving it in.”
The Hill reported:
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Saturday said he will keep Ukraine aid in the Pentagon funding bill, a reversal from his announcement one day earlier that he would strip the money out due to opposition from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).
McCarthy told reporters in the Capitol that he decided to keep the $300 million of Ukraine aid in the bill after recognizing that another spending measure set to come up next week — one that funds the State Department and Foreign Operations — also includes money for Kyiv.
The Speaker said stripping the Ukraine aid out of the State Department and Foreign Operations measure “becomes more difficult to do,” which led him to decide to keep the money for Kyiv in both measures.
The House next week is set to take a single procedural vote to advance four appropriations bills, including ones that fund the Pentagon and the State Department and Foreign Operations.
Earlier this week House Republicans pulled a stopgap bill that would keep the government running as the September 30 deadline looms.
Freedom Caucus members are at odds with other factions in the Republican Caucus over how to avoid a government shutdown.
Congressman Byron Donalds who is leading the negotiations, lashed out at lawmakers who are willing to work with the Democrats to avoid a shutdown.
“A lot of my colleagues, Freedom Caucus members, etc., need to be very concerned about the fact that we do have some Republican members who are willing to sign on to a clean [continuing resolution] with the Democrats, and basically eliminates out leverage to do anything,” Donalds told reporters on Tuesday, according to Fox News.
“I don’t take that lightly. There’s multiple games afoot in this town,” Donalds said.
According to Fox News, Donalds’ proposal would fund the government for 30 days with an 8% cut and includes the border security bill.
Rep Byron Donalds (R-FL) told reporters on Tuesday that there is no money for Ukraine ahead of Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to DC this week.
“There’s no money in the House right now for Ukraine. It’s not a good time for him to be here, quite frankly,” Donalds told reporters.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) on his message to Volodymyr Zelenskyy ahead of the Ukrainian president’s visit to Washington this week:
“There’s no money in the House right now for Ukraine … It’s not a good time for him to be here, quite frankly.” pic.twitter.com/zrUBycPgWs
— The Recount (@therecount) September 19, 2023