FILE - House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks at an election event, Nov. 9, 2022, in Washington. The results of the midterm election are raising questions about the future of American support for Ukraine. McCarthy warned last month that his party wouldn't support writing a "blank check" for Ukraine if it captured the House majority.

US election results could affect Ukraine assistance

WASHINGTON — If Republicans win the House, where does that leave Ukraine?

It’s a question that is top of mind in Washington as the GOP draws closer to winning a majority in the US House. Some fear the end of Democratic control in Congress — and the empowerment of “America First” conservatives — could ultimately result in the curtailment of American assistance as Ukraine battles Russia’s invasion.

Recent comments from Kevin McCarthy, who is in line for speaker if Republicans win the House, exacerbated those fears. He warned that Republicans wouldn’t support writing a “blank check” for Ukraine if they captured the majority.

But support for the country runs deep in both parts.

Since the Russian invasion began in February, Congress has approved tens of billions of dollars in emergency security and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine. The Biden administration has also shipped billions of dollars’ worth of weapons and equipment from military inventories.

In September, lawmakers approved about $12.3 billion in Ukraine-related aid as part of a bill that finances the federal government through Dec. 16. The money included assistance for the Ukrainian military as well as money to help the country’s government provide basic services to its citizens.

That comes on top of more than $50 billion provided in two previous bills.

All along, financial aid to Ukraine has garnered strong bipartisan support. In the Senate, GOP leader Mitch McConnell and Richard Shelby, the lead Republican on the powerful Appropriations Committee, were early and consistent voices in favor of helping Ukraine.

In recent days, other Republicans—including Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Rick Scott of Florida — have insisted in interviews that their party’s support for the Ukrainians is resolute.

“I think we have to continue to do everything we can to support Ukraine, who wants to defend their freedom and stop Russia from continuing to expand,” Scott said last Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., also made a bipartisan show of support by visiting Ukraine just days before the election.

“I am confident that bipartisan robust American support for the fight of the Ukrainian people will continue in Congress,” Coons said.

The picture is similar in the House, where Ukrainian aid enjoys majority support. A letter published last month by the liberal flank of the GOP, asking the Biden administration to pursue diplomatic talks with Russia over the war, was quickly retracted after an outpouring of criticism from both parties.

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