McConnell Stays Course on Foreign Aid Despite Challenges

( – The Republican Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, is fighting hard to fund the Ukraine war despite its growing unpopularity among his constituency. McConnell has worked to get $60 billion in Ukraine funding included in the last continuing resolution and tried to tie it to funding of Israel after their war with Hamas began in early October. He was thwarted by new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) when he put forward a stand-alone Israel package.

McConnell is moving forward undeterred and seems to be staking what remains of his legacy on funding Ukraine. The issue polls very poorly among GOP voters but McConnell has allies across the aisle, as many Democrats are also pushing to fund Ukraine further. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recently called the funding of Ukraine “one of the most important tasks” the Senate must complete before the end of the year. He sent a letter to all U.S. senators pushing them to get something done regarding Ukraine funding, writing that it was “vital” and should be done in a bi-partisan way.

The senate has set up a six-person committee to negotiate border provisions which both sides have continually tried to tie to Ukraine funding. The committee consists of three Democrats and three Republicans, the Republicans have tried to get Trump-era border policies reinstated as well as seriously tamping down on Joe Biden’s “humanitarian parole” authority. Through humanitarian parole alone the Biden administration has been admitting 1,400 migrants per day. The stricter border policies have all been shot down by the Democrat members of the committee.

Senator Mike Lee who is not a member of the committee on the border, said linking border security to Ukraine funding is a “non-starter” for him. He said he will not support anther “blank check” for Ukraine, especially considering the state of the U.S. border. McConnell’s fellow Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, said he will oppose what would amount to another $100 billion spending bill if the two issues were tied together with no government cuts to offset the expense.

Members of the House including Chip Roy (R-TX) have said they will also not support tying border security to Ukraine funding. Roy has said if he were Speaker he’d make it known he won’t even entertain the thought of such a deal.

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