US debt ceiling battle reignites debate over Ukrainian funds

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The battle to raise the U.S. debt ceiling by $31.4 trillion has reignited congressional debate over funding for Ukraine, as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said said on Tuesday that he had no immediate plans to pass legislation to increase defense spending beyond what was in last week’s offer.

McCarthy’s comments could signal a tougher road through Congress when President Joe Biden next seeks additional funding for Ukraine. The House and Senate approved $48 billion for the Kyiv government in December, before Republicans took control of the House.

This money should last at least until September 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Lawmakers have said Biden should seek more funds by August or September.

The debt ceiling agreement, which Biden signed into law on Saturday, capped national security spending for the year ending Sept. 30, 2024, at $886 billion, the amount Biden requested but less than what Biden wanted. Congressional defense hawks.

After some Republicans threatened to vote against the defense spending tightening deal, Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate promised the caps would not prevent the chamber from passing additional spending legislation to provide more money to Ukraine and to the Ministry of Defence.

However, McCarthy, who negotiated the deal with Biden, said he would not automatically allow a vote on an additional vote in the Republican-led chamber.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s Ukraine or whatever. The idea that someone wants to do an extra after we’ve just reached an agreement is trying to blow the deal “, McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill.

McCarthy said he supports Ukraine and helps Ukraine defeat the Russian invasion, but would like more information before moving forward.

“I don’t give money to give money. I want to see what the goal is, what is the result you want to achieve, then show me the plan to see if I think this plan can actually work? ” he said.

House Republicans want money for Ukraine — or other priorities — to move forward via “regular order,” with Congress debating and passing the 12 appropriation bills that fund the government.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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