Democratic and Republican sources in the United States said there were many issues to be worked out regarding the country’s Ukrainian package – including the drafting of legislative language – and that the whole process would take weeks until that there are final votes in both chambers.
The likely goal at this point is to pass this package before the Memorial Day break. But there are additional complications to sort out – namely what to do with the stalled Covid-19 aid.
A senior Democratic House official said US President Joe Biden’s additional request still has a long way to go in both chambers: “There will be bicameral and bipartisan talks on the additional request. The language must also be drafted. advance the supplement first. It will not be an instant process.
In a sign of potential hurdles ahead, many Republicans are already signaling that they need more information on Biden’s supplement before they can commit to voting on it in the Senate.
Republicans are still going through the president’s Ukraine supplement, but Sen. Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said he was concerned about a provision in the package that authorizes the fund. International Monetary Fund (IMF) to spend about $20 billion. It’s not new money. This money has already been allocated, but it had not been authorized. It’s an issue that Republicans and Democrats have been battling over for months and Republicans say Biden slipped into this package.
It’s still early days and Risch said many Republicans are still inclined to support the package, but he cautioned that Republicans want to take a few days to take a closer look at what’s included.
“I have to go through the details,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida. “I don’t focus so much on the amount. It’s more about what you intend to provide them? Is this what they need now for the foreseeable future? »
Another division emerging is that Republicans view the high price of humanitarian aid as potentially misdirected. Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican from Montana who visited Ukraine over the holidays, told reporters he thought the best place to spend the money was on military assistance.
“The war crimes that are being committed as we speak will only end when Ukraine wins this war. So while humanitarian aid is very important, the most important thing the Ukrainians want is lethal aid to defeat the Russians. I’m not convinced the White House understands that,” Daines said.
“I want to know what we are investing in. I want to make sure that between lethal aid and humanitarian aid, it actually gets where it’s supposed to go. The devil is in the details,” Ernst said.
Sen. Roger Wicker, a Republican from Mississippi, said he was comfortable with the package price.
“We need to send a strong signal that we intend for Ukraine to win this war against Vladimir Putin’s illegal war crimes,” Wicker said.
While members on both sides recognize the urgency to pass this legislation quickly, the mechanics of how it goes through the House and Senate are still very much in flux, with some Democrats still insisting that the money should be packed in one package with covid-19 money. who was withheld on Biden’s immigration policy on Title 42.
“It needs to be done,” said Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington.
Republicans, including Whip John Thune, have previously declared adding Covid-19 funding to this bill a failure.