A new aid package for Ukraine in the amount of $300 million was approved by the House in the evening on Sept. 28.
Despite widespread approval, the financing has been a point of contention for the past week. More conservative Republicans opposed including the $300 million in the measure that funds the Department of Defense in fiscal year 2024.
Some Republicans in the House were initially trying to reduce aid to Ukraine as it fights Russia, while others argue that the United States must stand by its beleaguered friend.
Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with legislators at the Capitol. Reporters were told by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that Zelensky had requested to speak to a combined session but that Mr. McCarthy had declined, saying, "We just don't have time."
The recently passed bill allocates $300 million, $280 million of which would be used to fund the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which will cover costs such as salaries, equipment, training, and logistics support.
In response to Republican complaints that the United States is providing too much money to the country where many suspect corruption, $20 million has been allocated to create an Office of Inspector General for Ukraine Assistance.
Allocation of FundsOf the $300 million being given to Ukraine, $280 million is designated to fund the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which will cover costs such as salaries, equipment, training, and logistics support.
In response to Republican complaints that the United States is providing too much money to the infamously corrupt Eastern European nation, $20 million has been allocated to create an Office of Inspector General for Ukraine Assistance.
Critics argue the $75 billion the U.S. has already sent to Ukraine is too much.
President Joe Biden had asked for $24 billion, so the $300 million included in the plan is a significant shortfall.
The $300 million was originally proposed as part of a wider Department of Defense appropriations measure.
Since Democrats are united in their opposition to the proposal, its inclusion threatened to sink the entire DOD package. If Mr. McCarthy had lost even a few Republican votes, the bill would not have succeeded, which is likely why Mr. McCarthy decided at the last minute to cut Ukraine cash out of the larger defense deal.
Controversy Surrounding the FundingJim McGovern (D-Mass), the ranking Democrat in the committee, criticized Mr. McCarthy's change at the hearing, claiming that he was trying to appease "extreme MAGA Republicans," advocating fiercely for the funding.
Mr. McGovern was referring to a vote that took place in the House on September 27 about an amendment proposed by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), a few hours before the hearing.
Mr. Biggs proposed an amendment to strike $300 million from the Department of Defense appropriations bill but was defeated by a vote of 330 to 104.
After this vote, however, Mr. McCarthy reversed direction and no longer proposed providing the money for Ukraine after previously promising to leave the Ukraine funding in the DOD measure.
During the hearing, Mr. McGovern voiced his disapproval of this action, saying, "Instead of accepting the loss, you’re rigging the rules against the will of the house. What is it with the Republicans and not being able to honor the result? Trumpism is alive and well here, because you’re about to overturn another vote.
"This is one of the most crooked things I’ve ever seen in my years here," he added.
“This is an attempt to cut off any support to Ukraine as they fight to defend their country from a brutal and illegal Russian invasion. This security assistance funding has been in the defense bill for years," Mr. McGovern said. "It has never been controversial until apparently now, when it is needed most.”
“Now they’re taking it out all because the pro-[Russian President Vladimir]Putin caucus demands it—the lives of Ukrainians be damned."
"We need to show Putin our strength," he added. "But Speaker McCarthy is letting a small band of MAGA extreme members override everyone else."
By a vote of 339 to 93, House Republicans also rejected an amendment from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) to ban security aid to Ukraine.