Economy

McConnell urges more aid for Ukraine despite skepticism among American voters: ‘Test for the United States’

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While the House and Senate are headed for a showdown over combining Ukraine and Israel aid in one supplemental package, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is doubling down on his support for Ukraine.

‘This is a moment for swift and decisive action to prevent further loss of life,’ McConnell said Monday during a McConnell Center speaker series in Louisville, Kentucky. ‘And to oppose real consequences on the tyrants who terrorized the people of Ukraine and Israel, and right now, the Senate has a chance to produce supplemental assistance that will help us do exactly that.’

McConnell coupled Hamas’ attack on Israel with the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began in February 2022, calling it an ‘axis of evil’ that includes China, Russia and Iran. 

‘So this is not just a test for Ukraine,’ McConnell said. ‘It’s a test for the United States and for the free world and the path toward greater security for all of us.’

Distinguished speaker Oksana Markarova, Ukraine ambassador to the U.S., echoed McConnell and said the Russia-Ukraine conflict is an ‘existential war’ that requires continued support from the U.S. 

‘Please stand a little bit longer with us, so we can win and Ukraine could not only win this, but be an answer to so many global problems,’ Markarova said. 

The U.S. has already sent more than $100 billion to Ukraine, and skepticism among American voters and Republican lawmakers is rising. According to a recent Fox News poll, voters are now more likely to feel U.S. support of Ukraine should have a limited time frame as opposed to waiting as long as it takes for it to prevail.

Just over half, 51%, think there should be a time limit, while 45% feel the U.S. should continue to support war-torn Ukraine indefinitely.

That’s a reversal from February, when 46% wanted a limit and 50% said support should last as long as it takes.

And newly-elected House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is expected to advance a proposal this week that only includes aid to Israel. He said Sunday he would move forward with a $14.5 billion aid package for Israel when the House reconvenes later this week.

Last week, GOP Sens. Roger Marshall of Kansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, JD Vance of Ohio and Mike Lee of Utah introduced a stand-alone bill to funnel aid to Israel without tying it to Ukraine aid. 

The proposal comes after the Biden administration’s Office of Management and Budget sent Congress an emergency supplemental funding package request earlier this month totaling $106 billion to aid Ukraine and Israel and to speed up asylum processing at the southern border.

The funding proposal includes $61.4 billion for Ukraine, $14.3 billion for Israel (with $10.6 billion allocated for military aid), $13.6 billion for border protection (including measures to combat the flow of fentanyl) and significant investments in Indo-Pacific security assistance, totaling around $7.4 billion. Additionally, there is $9 billion earmarked for humanitarian aid in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza.

Congress will have to agree on a package, with Republicans likely proposing several amendments before it is sent back to Biden’s office for signature.

Fox News’ Victoria Balara contributed to this report.

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