Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Republican leader Mitch McConnell declared that Washington would not be able to approve new aid for Ukraine before the year’s end, prolonging the negotiations as both sides seek a compromise.
“While challenging issues persist, we remain committed to addressing needs at the southern border and supporting allies in Israel, Ukraine, and the Indo-Pacific,” the statement read, leaving Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a precarious position as his government emphasizes the “dire need” for weapons ahead of winter.
Zelensky, who made his third trip to Washington in mid-December to lobby for aid, remains optimistic, asserting at a press conference on Tuesday that the United States “will not betray” Ukraine.
This setback marks not only a blow to Zelensky but also to President Joe Biden, whose foreign policy has prioritized support for Ukraine and the strengthening of the Atlantic alliance.
Despite over $110 billion in U.S. taxpayer money released by Congress in the past two years, questions have emerged about the open-ended nature of U.S. support.
The impasse in Congress stems from Republicans linking their support for the aid package to a drastic tightening of U.S. immigration policy, a condition not resolved in time. President Biden attempted to bolster the proposal by tying it to a $14 billion offer to Israel, but the tactic has yet to yield results.
While U.S. lawmakers intend to revisit the aid package on January 8, hurdles remain in the House, where the new Speaker, Mike Johnson, raises concerns about oversight and lacks unanimous support within his own party.
Johnson contends that the Biden administration seeks “billions of additional dollars with no appropriate oversight, with no clear strategy to win.”
With the hard-right faction of the Republican Party opposing further aid to Ukraine, the return of former President Donald Trump to the White House is perceived as a potential game-changer by Zelensky, who voiced awareness of the impending risks.
The delay in Congressional approval does not signal the end of U.S. support for Kyiv, but the intricate dynamics within the House could further complicate the situation.