Way ahead of $ 33 billion Ukraine package confused on Hill

Both sides are pushing for a speedy approval of President Biden’s request for $ 33 billion in further aid to Ukraine, but the way forward is still confused.

Democratic leaders have not yet decided whether aid will be combined with other spending priorities such as additional aid to pandemic aid, and as the bill passes through Congress, the top Republican in the House Foreign Affairs Committee said the coming weeks will be “crucial and very crucial”. for the war in Ukraine.

Rep. Michael T. McCaul of Texas said Sunday that “time is of the essence” for Congress to approve further assistance.

“I do not think we have much time to waste in Congress,” said Mr. McCaul for ABC’s “This Week.” “Every day we do not send them more weapons is a day when more people will be killed and a day when they can lose this war. I think they can win it. But we have to give them the tools to do so. ”

President Biden’s $ 33.4 billion request includes $ 20 billion in security assistance, $ 8.5 billion in financial assistance and $ 3 billion in humanitarian aid.

Senate Democrats have considered pairing emergency funding with a halted $ 10 billion coronavirus package as a way to thwart Republican opposition to the additional pandemics.

SEE ALSO: GOP Representative Kinzinger Suggests US Consider Military Use If Russia Escalates War in Ukraine

Republicans have blocked consideration of coronavirus legislation over the White House’s proposal to end an emergency order using the pandemic health crisis to justify blocking illegal aliens from entering the United States

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers needed to figure out how to resolve both issues quickly.

“We have emergencies here. We need to have the COVID money and time is of the essence because we need the Ukraine money, we need the COVID money, so I hope we can do that,” he said. the California Democrat.

In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, said a decision on whether to connect the two remained in the air.

“The procedure for putting bills together [or] separating them is skewed and sometimes unpredictable, “he said.” We need COVID help. We need Ukraine’s help. We should make them together or separately, but we should not wait. “

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said Congress “will do whatever it takes” to ensure Ukraine has the resources it needs.

SEE ALSO: USAID administrator warns that war in Ukraine is expanding into a global crisis

“It’s about the international order,” he said. Menendez for NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “If [Russian President Vladimir] “In the end, Putin can not only succeed in the Donbas, but perhaps become brave enough to move forward. If he beats a country under NATO, under our treaty commitments with NATO, then we would be directly committed.”

“Preventing Russia from reaching that point is of critical interest to us as well as to the world so that we do not have to send our sons and daughters into battle,” he said. “And I think that ability to not have to send our sons and daughters into battle is invaluable.”

Ms. Pelosi led a delegation of House Democrats to a face-to-face visit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy over the weekend. U.S. lawmakers promised that “additional U.S. support is on the way as we work to turn President Biden’s strong funding request into a legislative package.”

She said Mr Zelenskyy thanked lawmakers for US assistance and “conveyed the clear need for continued security, economic and humanitarian assistance from the United States to address the devastating human strain that Putin’s devilish invasion has taken on the Ukrainian people.”

But as the Senate returns next week to discuss the final package, Parliament is not scheduled to return until after the first week of May, adding more time until the final bill reaches the president’s desk.

“If I were speaking for a day, I would call Congress back to session, back to work, since … we will not be in session next week,” said Mr. McCaul.

Mr. McCaul reiterated remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the goal of US support for Ukraine should be to enable a decisive victory over Russia.

“I’ve been to the region twice. [The Ukrainians] can actually win this war, ”said Mr. McCaul. “And I think that should be the goal.”

“I think a victory would be to go to the offensive in the Donbas with this artillery, we give them, the howitzers and these deadly drones and push them out,” he added.

But he said the coming weeks would be crucial in halting Russia’s attempts to bar Ukraine from the Black Sea by attacking important port cities along the coast.

“We have to stop it,” said Mr. McCaul. “The UK has done a good job with anti – ship weapons in Odesa and [the Ukrainians] actually shot down a Russian warship with their own Neptune [missile], which is really phenomenal. And it has been very inspiring. ”

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