This week, the U.S. House of Representatives removed House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his position, leaving a power vacuum and questions about who will ultimately replace him.
Though House Republicans have already begun the process of choosing another leader, the vacancy could impact funding negotiations as Congress wrangles over a deal to fund the government.
“It becomes substantially harder to do a government spending deal, because the message has been sent that Republicans should not rely on Democrats to pass any bills,” Brian Riedl, a former aide to Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) who is now a policy analyst at the Manhattan Institute, told the Washington Post.
Amid the congressional uncertainty, President Joe Biden is expressing fears that Ukraine may be subjected to funding cuts.
McCarthy being removed as speaker casts doubt over how soon, or whether, that funding will be granted.
“It does worry me,” Biden said. “But I know there are a majority of members of the House and Senate, in both parties, who have said that they support funding Ukraine.”
House Republicans hold a slim 222-212 majority over Democrats. Recent polling has shown more than half the country believes congress should not authorize additional Ukraine funding. As America faces numerous challenges as home, including a growing border crisis, skyrocketing mortgage rates, record high consumer debt, and oil prices expected to top $100 per barrel, congressional Republicans are less supportive of funding Ukraine, instead wanting to prioritize domestic issues.
Last night’s vote marks a major moment in changing perceptions on how House Republicans view Ukraine.
101 Republicans voted to send more money.
117 Republicans voted against.
Ukraine Funding has now lost “the majority of the majority” and cannot be brought up again on the… https://t.co/DulCo6tksf
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) September 29, 2023
A last-ditch effort to avoid a government shutdown over the weekend included no new funding for Ukraine, while hopes for a deal were dashed with McCarthy’s departure from the speakership.
Biden says he will soon deliver a speech to make the case for why it is necessary to continue funding Ukraine.
“I’m going to make the argument that it is overwhelmingly in the interests of the United States of America that Ukraine succeed and it’s overwhelmingly in our interests,” he said.