Monday, December 11, 2023

US President Joe Biden Affirms Commitment to Ukraine Despite Absence of New Aid in Spending Bill

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Following the passage of a short-term spending bill to prevent a government shutdown, US President Joe Biden delivered reassurances on Sunday, emphasizing Washington’s commitment to supporting Ukraine, as reported by CNN.

The spending bill did not include new aid for Ukraine, prompting President Biden to call on Republicans to uphold their commitment to backing Ukraine. He acknowledged the absence of Ukraine funding in the agreement and explained, “Despite that, I did not believe we could let millions of Americans go through the pain of a government shutdown,” during his address after signing the bill.

Biden stated, “I want to assure our American allies and the American people and the people of Ukraine that you can count on our support. We will not walk away.” He also pledged to hold Republicans accountable for their previous indications of support for Ukraine. He emphasized the importance of not allowing any interruption in American support for Ukraine.

The President expressed his expectation that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy would fulfill his commitment to secure passage and support for Ukraine as they defend themselves against aggression. He highlighted broad bipartisan support for Ukraine’s efforts in the war and urged a vote on the matter.

While Biden criticized Republicans and the pattern of “governing by crisis,” he refrained from commenting on whether Democrats should assist McCarthy in retaining the speakership, as conservative factions seek to remove him due to his handling of shutdown negotiations.

Notably, initial versions of the spending bill aimed at averting the shutdown did include aid for Ukraine. However, these funds were eventually removed due to concerns that the measure might face objections from certain conservatives, according to CNN. Bipartisan members of Senate leadership released a joint statement committing to vote on additional funding for Ukraine aid “in the coming weeks.” Congress will need to negotiate another funding bill by mid-November, as reported by CNN.

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