Uncertainty looms over US aid to Ukraine after McCarthy's ousting
The removal of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has raised questions about the future of US support for Ukraine, which relies heavily on American aid to fend off Russian aggression
McCarthy ousted as House Speaker
In a historic move, Kevin McCarthy was removed from his position as Speaker of the US House of Representatives. According to CNN, in a close vote, 216 congressmen supported McCarthy's removal, while 210 were against it.
McCarthy also stated that he won't seek the position of Speaker again.
The initiative to remove McCarthy was led by Republican Matt Goetz, who accused him of compromising with Democrats and securing a 45-day budget to prevent a government shutdown.
Goetz also claimed that McCarthy had a "secret agreement" with President Joe Biden regarding Ukraine's financing.
Patrick McHenry will temporarily assume the role of Speaker of the House of Representatives. He is a close ally of Kevin McCarthy and will oversee the selection of the next Speaker. In his temporary capacity, McHenry can only adjourn sessions, postpone them, and recognize Speaker candidates.
This marks the first-ever resignation of a House Speaker in US history. The last attempt was in 1910, which did not succeed.
Implications for Ukraine
The Guardian writes that the recent removal of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has added a new layer of uncertainty to the fate of US aid to Ukraine. Earlier, support for Kyiv had been left out of the US government funding bill, leaving President Joe Biden dependent on the Republican speaker to secure a separate deal.
President Biden emphasized the importance of uninterrupted US support for Ukraine, saying it must continue "under any circumstances." He expressed confidence in McCarthy's commitment to securing the necessary support for Ukraine's defense.
The urgency to bolster Kyiv's support has grown, with Admiral Rob Bauer, NATO's top military official, warning that Ukraine's resources are running thin. Ukraine relies on NATO for many of the shells it fires daily.
The White House remains optimistic about increased assistance for Ukraine, regardless of McCarthy's fate. Attention now turns to the views of potential successors to McCarthy.
A "report card" on Ukraine support, compiled by the political group 'Defending Democracy Together,' rates leading candidates from A to F based on their past support for Ukraine aid. Representative Steve Scalise, a top House Republican, is a leading contender for the speakership and received a B grade, an improvement from McCarthy's B-minus. However, Representative Matt Gaetz, a hard-right Republican who played a key role in McCarthy's removal, received an F.
Other candidates like Jim Jordan and Byron Donalds also received Fs, while Representative Tom Emmer earned the highest rating with an A.
It is worth mentioning that since Russia's invasion in February 2022, Washington has provided Ukraine with $113 billion in security, economic, and humanitarian aid.
In the Senate, controlled narrowly by Democrats, leaders have pledged to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to ensure continued US support for Ukraine, both in terms of security and economic assistance.
On September 30th, Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, proposed excluding funding for Ukraine from the additional spending bill to prevent a government shutdown.
On October 1st, President Joe Biden signed a bill for temporary government funding until November 17th, which had been approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives. Prior to signing, Biden clarified that there was no new funding in the agreement for continued support to Ukraine.
Furthermore, Biden urged Congressional Republicans to promptly support the proposed legislation for additional aid to Ukraine.
Ukraine's Ambassador to the USA, Oksana Markarova, reassured that the temporary budget passage in the USA does not jeopardize the previously approved supply of weapons and equipment.
Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, has stated that despite the absence of a decision in the US Congress regarding aid to Ukraine amid the possibility of a government shutdown, support from the United States remains unwavering.