US aid to Ukraine still uncertain due to Republican resistance

The future of US billions in aid for Ukraine remains uncertain. A legislative package worth $118 billion (around 110 billion euros) on aid for Ukraine and Israel as well as money to secure the US border with Mexico failed on Wednesday due to resistance from Republicans in the US Senate. Before Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) visited Washington, the failure of politicians in Berlin was seen as a warning signal.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a quick second vote by senators on Thursday. US President Joe Biden had pushed for $60 billion to be released to support Ukraine. The so-called National Security Supplementary Act also includes, among other things, $14.1 billion in support for Israel and $20.2 billion for border security.

The bill negotiated by Democrats and Republicans also includes numerous changes to immigration policy. Linking foreign aid to the issue of US border security was originally a concession from Biden’s ruling party to the Republicans.

The reason for the Republicans’ current resistance is the rejection by former President Donald Trump, who wants to retake the White House in the presidential election in November – and intends to use border policy as a campaign issue.

The right-wing populist has openly positioned himself against the reform package and thereby put pressure on his Republican parliamentarians to let it fail. This led to a deadlock in the Senate, which is now to be resolved by scheduling a new vote that only concerns foreign aid.

The Senate will meet again on Thursday at noon, Schumer announced. His Democratic colleagues reacted with anger. Cory Booker, Senator from New Jersey, said he was shocked to see how the Republicans, under pressure from Trump, were “creating even more problems and chaos by abandoning goodwill negotiations.”

In Germany, the failure of US aid to Ukraine was seen as a warning signal. “The blockade of Ukraine aid in Congress is just a first foretaste of what could threaten if Donald Trump is re-elected to the White House in November,” said the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, Michael Roth (SPD), on Wednesday the news portal “t-online”.

At the same time, the SPD politician criticized the fact that the EU had relied for too long on the USA continuing to provide Ukraine with comprehensive military support. “We Europeans must finally take on more responsibility to contain and stop Russian imperialism,” said Roth.

The CDU foreign politician Roderich Kiesewetter demanded on “Deutschlandfunk” that Europe must now “assume responsibility and relieve the Americans of a large part of the support, especially with long-range weapons.”

“We must finally wake up and prepare for a possible Donald Trump presidency by investing massively in our own security,” said CDU foreign policy expert Norbert Röttgen to “t-online”. With regard to the blockade policy of the Republicans in the US Congress, he added: “This policy is devastating for the US’s foreign policy weight.”

During Chancellor Scholz’s visit to Washington, a conversation with Biden was planned for Friday. The main focus will be on the situation in Ukraine.

The USA has been Kiev’s main supporter since the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine began on February 24, 2022. However, the opposition Republicans in Congress have been blocking the release of new military aid for months.