Politics

Zelenskyy set to brief Senate on Ukraine’s aid needs ahead of supplemental vote

One-two pitch on Ukraine aid: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to give a classified briefing to senators this afternoon by video conference, where he’ll make yet another pitch for billions of dollars in aid.

Congress, of course, remains stalled on the issue. Ukraine cash has become mired in difficult border discussions, and there’s slim chance Zelenskyy’s entreaties will unstick negotiations.

Senators will also be briefed this afternoon on the status of the Ukraine war by key officials, including Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Charles Q. Brown. The briefing will also include information on the Israel-Hamas war.

The pointed combo of Zelenskyy’s video pitch and the classified briefing comes just a day before Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will bring a $106 billion supplemental spending bill to the floor for a procedural vote. The package includes $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel along with funding for border security. Republicans are expected to block the legislation, which needs 60 votes to advance, because it lacks border policy measures they’ve demanded.

Senate Democrats and Republicans are still far apart on border policy proposals, though talks continue.

Sitting, waiting, wishing: Two key December agenda items are still waiting for their day in the sun: the National Defense Authorization Act and topline spending numbers for fiscal 2024.

Final text of the conference version of the annual defense policy bill, a compromise between House and Senate negotiators, could come as soon as Tuesday — but no one is making promises.

And the House is expecting negotiators to release a topline spending number by mid-week, with the dual funding deadlines looming on Jan. 19 and Feb. 2. It’s not too early for “looming” given how little time Congress is set to be in session before that mid-January deadline, and how much lawmakers have left to do.

One-two pitch on Ukraine aid: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to give a classified briefing to senators this afternoon by video conference, where he’ll make yet another pitch for billions of dollars in aid.
Congress, of course, remains stalled on the issue. Ukraine cash has become mired in difficult border discussions, and there’s slim chance Zelenskyy’s entreaties will unstick negotiations.
Senators will also be briefed this afternoon on the status of the Ukraine war by key officials, including Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Charles Q. Brown. The briefing will also include information on the Israel-Hamas war.
The pointed combo of Zelenskyy’s video pitch and the classified briefing comes just a day before Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will bring a $106 billion supplemental spending bill to the floor for a procedural vote. The package includes $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel along with funding for border security. Republicans are expected to block the legislation, which needs 60 votes to advance, because it lacks border policy measures they’ve demanded.
Senate Democrats and Republicans are still far apart on border policy proposals, though talks continue.
Sitting, waiting, wishing: Two key December agenda items are still waiting for their day in the sun: the National Defense Authorization Act and topline spending numbers for fiscal 2024.
Final text of the conference version of the annual defense policy bill, a compromise between House and Senate negotiators, could come as soon as Tuesday — but no one is making promises.
And the House is expecting negotiators to release a topline spending number by mid-week, with the dual funding deadlines looming on Jan. 19 and Feb. 2. It’s not too early for “looming” given how little time Congress is set to be in session before that mid-January deadline, and how much lawmakers have left to do.  

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