Uncertainty looms for future aid to Ukraine and Israel as speaker drama continues

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As the search for a speaker continues, some House Republicans are already casting doubt over the future of the administration’s $105 billion security supplemental request for aid to Ukraine, Israel, the southern border and Taiwan, a major issue that any future speaker will have to contend with.

A number of Republican rank-and-file members in the House have made clear that the administration’s request won’t survive their chamber without changes and many House Republicans have already said that additional funding for border security isn’t enough without a policy overhaul, which would likely be a red line for many Senate Democrats.

“This is a hell no. And no one in the House GOP should support it. It’s asinine, unpaid for, ineffective and dangerous,” Rep. Chip Roy of Texas posted on X about the supplemental request.

Other Republicans who support parts of the request blasted the administration for trying to tie Israel funding to funding for Ukraine, which has seen cratering support in recent months.

“Israel deserves to have a conversation that is devoted to them right now,” Republican Rep. Mike Garcia of California, a defense appropriator, told CNN. “We need to strip out the Ukraine funding and we need to give the Israeli partners the respect they deserve.”

Even those who have backed Ukraine aid and have pledged to support it in the future want to understand why the administration is asking for so much.

“It seems like a lot,” Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska said. “I’d like to see the breakout of the needs. I want to support it, but that seems like a lot of money.”

There is broad bipartisan support for Ukraine, but funding the military efforts there has become a flashpoint for conservatives and an issue that will likely bedevil a future speaker just as it had former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The administration’s request included more than $60 billion in assistance for Ukraine with over $14 billion for Israel. The Israel funding will likely move quickly in the House, but it’s very likely that the future speaker would decouple the requests so they are voted on individually.

The tightrope any future speaker will walk is that the Republican conference is divided over sending additional aid to Ukraine. On the one hand, hardliners derided McCarthy for his support of the country early on in the war and McCarthy had remained publicly noncommittal about putting a future aid package on the floor. But there are some members for whom support Ukraine is an essential issue.

“I support Ukraine and Israel. I think we should do both,” Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania said. “I think we should do whatever gets both of them across the finish line, whatever strategy works best. I don’t want to hold back one for the other. I support both.”

To this point, the supplemental request has been overshadowed by a chaotic search for House speaker, but it may come into focus soon as the Senate prepares to take up the request quickly.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has made clear he hopes to take up the supplemental request as soon as possible.

“This legislation is too important to wait for the House to settle their chaos. Senate Democrats will move expeditiously on this request, and we hope that our Republican colleagues across the aisle will join us to pass this much-needed funding,” Schumer said.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has scheduled a hearing for October 31 to review the request and will hear from Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who are expected to testify and make the case for why the money is necessary.

But the House cannot begin to consider the legislation on the floor in any form until a speaker is selected.

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