The Republican far right has given Vladimir Putin the victory that he has not been able to achieve on the battlefield. The budget that allows the Public Administration to continue operating for 45 more days, and which was approved on Saturday night, when there were two hours and 58 minutes left for it to close, does not include a dollar in military or humanitarian assistance to kyiv. The White House wanted a military and civil aid package of 24 billion dollars, which the Senate had reduced by 6,000 and has not yet been approved. The reason is the frontal opposition of the most ultra sector of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, which openly sympathizes with Russia in the conflict. With this decision, the US only has approved resources for continue supporting kyiv for a few more weeks.
If Congress fails to pass more aid, the flow of weapons from Washington to kyiv will dry up. Although that is an unlikely option, it should not be ruled out. And, in any case, the message that the United States is sending to its allies, to Ukraine and to Russia, is evident: American leadership in the conflict is in question, and it will be more so as the 2024 elections approach and public opinion’s rejection of giving weapons continues to grow. The decision of the ultra congressman Matt Gaetz of trying to force the resignation of the president of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthypartly because of his support for kyiv – and also partly out of sheer personal animosity – may postpone support for kyiv even further.
Those who oppose aid are concentrated mainly in the House of Representatives, although they have some support in the Senate, especially the senator from Kentucky Rand Paulan ultraliberal whose father, Ron Paulworks as a commentator on the Russian channel RT, formerly known as Russia Today. They are a minority group, but with enough power to intimidate a large part of that party’s bench, and with a thesis that is summarized in one sentence – something very important in the world of 21st century politics – and that also seems terrorize the Democrats who control the White House and the Senate: “Whoever wants to give aid to Ukraine shows that they care more about that country than about the United States”. The virulence of this attitude is such that in three days the Republican Party went from demanding in the House of Representatives a 10% cut in the budget in a series of items that represent around a third of US public spending to settling for these remain stable, as long as, of course, there is no aid for Ukraine.
Added to this are other more far-fetched arguments, such as Paul’s fears in the spring that aid to kyiv would mean a wave of hyperinflation in United States. Demonstrating how an amount equivalent to 0.2% of the country’s GDP, or 0.7% of the federal State budget, can cause a rise in prices is something that could make Paul, who is an ophthalmologist by profession, worthy of the award. Nobel Prize in Economics. And finally, there is the argument that the United States, not Ukraine, is suffering a “invasion” of undocumented immigrants along its border with Mexicoand that that should be Washington’s political priority.
The refusal to support Kiev is such in that group that on Friday night Gaetz indignantly tweeted that McCarthy had reached a secret agreement with the Democrats to, once the crisis was over, approve more military aid to Ukraine. This Sunday, Gaetz announced that he will present a motion to remove McCarthy. It is very unlikely that the proposal will go ahead, among other things because the ultras are few and, furthermore, they do not have a candidate to replace McCarthy, who could count on the support of most of the Republicans and a considerable part of the democrats. But the move could further delay the delivery of aid to Ukraine.