Politics

Kevin McCarthy plans to give Ukraine aid its own separate vote as he moves ahead on GOP spending bills.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy hopes to start moving a package of GOP spending bills Tuesday with one big change: stripping out Ukraine aid.

Instead, McCarthy said he will give Ukraine aid its own separate vote — a move Republicans hope will unstick a massive Defense spending bill that failed to come up for debate for a second time on Thursday.

“I think the way that would work is it would be an individual vote. … It would be out and voted on by itself,” McCarthy told reporters as he arrived at the Capitol.

McCarthy added there was roughly $300 million for training, and “what you can do is you can take it out, move the DoD approps and move that piece all by itself.” The money in the Defense funding bill is for the Pentagon’s Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which can go to training as well as weapons and equipment.

The announcement of McCarthy’s aid strategy comes after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met at the Capitol with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including the House GOP leader. But Ukraine has become a fraught issue within parts of the House GOP conference, as some Republicans bristle at giving any more aid and a broader swath wants a clearer idea about both how the money is being spent and Ukraine’s strategy for winning the war.

And the outlined path forward also follows a series of House GOP setbacks in trying to get their spending bills off the ground this month. The latest Republican proposal for a short-term spending bill already has enough votes to ensure it can’t pass as-is, and Republicans were caught by surprise when their own ranks blocked the Defense bill debate rule for a second time this week.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) pointed to the Ukraine funding as a reason she voted against bringing up the Defense bill on Thursday, after initially voting to start debate on the bill last week. Making it a stand-alone vote could also help Ukraine aid pick up bipartisan support, with Democrats opposed to the larger Defense bill.

But it’s not clear that would be enough. Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) also voted against the starting debate on Thursday, and Republicans are dealing with absences that give them an even smaller margin for error.

They are planning to move forward anyways after hours of negotiations on Thursday in Majority Whip Tom Emmer’s office, where they negotiated moving both the Defense and DHS bill, which are GOP priorities, with bills that include steep spending cuts like the State Department funding bill.

As part of that agreement the Rules Committee will meet later Friday to tee up four government funding bills: Defense, Homeland Security, State and Agriculture.

“We’ve got Rules going in today, we’ve got members working and hopefully we’ll be able to move forward on Tuesday,” McCarthy said.

The decision to focus on moving larger appropriations bills comes as lawmakers have a little more than a week to prevent a government shutdown.

Some centrist Republicans have floated their own bipartisan short-term funding bill, while others are threatening to side with Democrats and sign a discharge petition. Meanwhile, on the other side of the conference, a group of House Republicans, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), has suggested that they will never support a short-term funding bill.

McCarthy, on Friday, warned that entering a shutdown wouldn’t help the party’s negotiating position in the larger spending fight.

“We need the time to fund the government while we pass all the appropriations bills,” he said. “I just believe that if you’re not funding the troops and you’re not funding the border it’s pretty difficult to think you are going to win in a shutdown.”

Connor O’Brien contributed reporting.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy hopes to start moving a package of GOP spending bills Tuesday with one big change: stripping out Ukraine aid.
Instead, McCarthy said he will give Ukraine aid its own separate vote — a move Republicans hope will unstick a massive Defense spending bill that failed to come up for debate for a second time on Thursday.
“I think the way that would work is it would be an individual vote. … It would be out and voted on by itself,” McCarthy told reporters as he arrived at the Capitol.
McCarthy added there was roughly $300 million for training, and “what you can do is you can take it out, move the DoD approps and move that piece all by itself.” The money in the Defense funding bill is for the Pentagon’s Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which can go to training as well as weapons and equipment.
The announcement of McCarthy’s aid strategy comes after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met at the Capitol with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including the House GOP leader. But Ukraine has become a fraught issue within parts of the House GOP conference, as some Republicans bristle at giving any more aid and a broader swath wants a clearer idea about both how the money is being spent and Ukraine’s strategy for winning the war.
And the outlined path forward also follows a series of House GOP setbacks in trying to get their spending bills off the ground this month. The latest Republican proposal for a short-term spending bill already has enough votes to ensure it can’t pass as-is, and Republicans were caught by surprise when their own ranks blocked the Defense bill debate rule for a second time this week.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) pointed to the Ukraine funding as a reason she voted against bringing up the Defense bill on Thursday, after initially voting to start debate on the bill last week. Making it a stand-alone vote could also help Ukraine aid pick up bipartisan support, with Democrats opposed to the larger Defense bill.
But it’s not clear that would be enough. Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) also voted against the starting debate on Thursday, and Republicans are dealing with absences that give them an even smaller margin for error.
They are planning to move forward anyways after hours of negotiations on Thursday in Majority Whip Tom Emmer’s office, where they negotiated moving both the Defense and DHS bill, which are GOP priorities, with bills that include steep spending cuts like the State Department funding bill.
As part of that agreement the Rules Committee will meet later Friday to tee up four government funding bills: Defense, Homeland Security, State and Agriculture.
“We’ve got Rules going in today, we’ve got members working and hopefully we’ll be able to move forward on Tuesday,” McCarthy said.
The decision to focus on moving larger appropriations bills comes as lawmakers have a little more than a week to prevent a government shutdown.
Some centrist Republicans have floated their own bipartisan short-term funding bill, while others are threatening to side with Democrats and sign a discharge petition. Meanwhile, on the other side of the conference, a group of House Republicans, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), has suggested that they will never support a short-term funding bill.
McCarthy, on Friday, warned that entering a shutdown wouldn’t help the party’s negotiating position in the larger spending fight.
“We need the time to fund the government while we pass all the appropriations bills,” he said. “I just believe that if you’re not funding the troops and you’re not funding the border it’s pretty difficult to think you are going to win in a shutdown.”
Connor O’Brien contributed reporting.  

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