Is a Republican House Majority in the 118th Congress Going to be a Threat to Our National Security Interests?

Robert McConnell
October 18, 2022

Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican Leader has suggested a Republican led House of Representatives would not be as supportive of Ukraine in its fighting against Russia's atrocities.

Where is the once clear-headed on foreign policy headed? Please he cannot be speaking for the Party!

The Washington Post

McCarthy: No 'blank check' for Ukraine if GOP wins majority

By Farnoush Amiri and Kevin Freking | AP

October 18, 2022 at 7:03 p.m. EDT

FILE - House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif. speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 29, 2022. McCarthy warned Tuesday, Oct. 18, that Republicans will not write a “blank check” for Ukraine if they win back the House majority, reflecting his party’s growing skepticism about financial support for Kyiv as it battles Russia’s invasion. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy warned Tuesday that Republicans will not write a “blank check” for Ukraine if they win back the House majority, reflecting his party’s growing skepticism about financial support for Kyiv as it battles Russia’s invasion.

“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” McCarthy told Punchbowl News. “They just won’t do it. … It’s not a free blank check.” [Now here is a leader who is on top of things! No “free blank check” suggests he hasn’t a clue about the United States’ critical national security interests that are involved. Nor does the insensitivity and base inaccuracy of reference to no “blank check” suggest he has a grasp on this serious situation. Of course, the people of Ukraine are fighting for their freedom, and he might be in Carlson’s camp of not caring about the Russian slaughter of innocents. But the people of Ukraine are also fighting for our interests and to stop Putin from continuing his assault of the West which, if not stopped in Ukraine, will have us spending far more than anything we have spent so far or could spend in Ukraine over the next decade – while having to put American “boots on the ground” to defend NATO countries. McCarthy’s statement and those of other Republics along the same lines are genuinely embarrassing and dangerous. Is their time before January to educate Members and candidates who should certainly know better? Or do we have to consider them lost causes and vote accordingly? RAM]

The comments from McCarthy, who is in line to become speaker if Republicans win the House, raised fresh questions about the resiliency of America’s support for Ukraine as a growing number of Republicans, particularly those aligned with Donald Trump’s “America First” approach, question the need for federal spending abroad at a time of record-high inflation at home. [If this dumbing down of American foreign policy continues it will eventually cost American lives in fighting that will not be necessary if we help Ukraine win. RAM]

Since Russia launched its invasion in February, Congress has approved tens of billions in emergency security and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine, while the Biden administration has shipped billions worth of weapons and equipment from military inventories.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre sidestepped Tuesday afternoon when asked about McCarthy’s comments. She instead thanked congressional leaders for bipartisan work to “support Ukraine to defend itself from Russia’s war crimes and atrocities.”

“We will continue to work with Congress and continue to monitor those conversations on these efforts and support Ukraine as long as it takes,” she said. “We are going to keep that promise that we’re making to the brave Ukrainians who are fighting every day, to fight for their freedom and their democracy.”

In private, GOP lawmakers who support aid to Ukraine say there could be an opportunity to pass one more tranche in an end-of-year spending package, before Republicans potentially take control in the next Congress.

Last month, 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 aid 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.

Financial support for Ukraine garnered strong bipartisan support in the Senate and the House after Russia’s invasion in the spring. In the Senate, GOP leader Mitch McConnell and Richard Shelby, the lead Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, were early and consistent voices for Ukraine aid. But conservative opposition was present from the start. Republicans accounted for the only votes against a $40 billion aid package in the spring.  

Nearly 60 House members and 11 senators [All Republicans RAM] opposed the legislation, citing the need for more oversight of how the money is spent and what weapons and equipment the U.S. is sending overseas. [Oh, I will grant you their reasoning if isolated and out of context had some merit. But the fact is they have not been consistent in any way in voting against other money issues for such reasons – theirs was a vote against support for Ukraine plain and simple. RAM]

Rep. Michael McCaul, the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he will be leading that effort to provide more oversight of how the Ukraine money is spent if the GOP does win the majority next month. [No one will oppose more oversight – if more oversight is called for why wasn’t it included in earlier measures? Even the most ardent supporters of Ukraine will not oppose genuine oversight. Look, admittedly the Congress and Administration have committed significant resources to support Ukraine and Ukraine would not be where it is today in fighting back against Putin’s genocidal war but for U.S. and allies support. But, at the same time the giving of support has been timid and slow and too often controlled by a fear of not upsetting Putin too much. That is not the behavior of a superpower acting in its own national security interests. It is quite possible if we had given Ukraine the right weapons, at the right place and time, Ukraine would have already won this war – their accomplishments under the circumstances make the case they are capable of doing so. The faster we get Ukraine what it needs to win, the quicker the war will be over. Members and candidates who want to talk financial concerns as well as security interests should be pushing to get Ukraine what it needs faster – now! RAM]

“I do think you have broad bipartisan support for what’s happening in Ukraine, but I think you’ll see, if we get the majority, more oversight and accountability in terms of the funding and where the money’s going, and I think the American taxpayers deserve that,” the Texas Republican told Bloomberg Business on Tuesday.

International allies are also watching the debate on Capitol Hill closely. Estonian Ambassador to the U.S. Kristjan Prikk said he’d received assurances from members of both parties that there is “strong core support” for Ukraine assistance to continue, no matter which party wins the election.

“Certainly both parties have members who have doubted if the assistance is proportional, whether it’s been necessary, but they did not constitute the majority or core,” Prikk said Tuesday. “I do not see this changing.”


Associated Press writers Seung Min Kim and Tara Copp contributed to this report.

Bob McConnell

Coordinator, External Relations

U.S.-Ukraine Foundation’s Friends of Ukraine Network

Robert A. McConnell is a co-founder of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and Coordinator of External Relations for the Foundation’s Friends of Ukraine Network. He is Principal of R.A. McConnell and Associates. Previously, he has served as head of the Government Advocacy Practice at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Vice President – Washington for CBS, Inc, and Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice during the Reagan Administration.