Visiting Ukraine, Schumer Aims to Pressure G.O.P. to Take Up Aid Bill

Visiting Ukraine, Schumer Aims to Pressure G.O.P. to Take Up Aid Bill

Senator Chuck Schumer, the bulk chief, is touring to Ukraine on Friday for a go to meant to point out American solidarity with a democratic ally underneath assault by Russia and enhance the stress on Republicans to drop their opposition to further U.S. support.

The journey, Mr. Schumer’s first official one to Ukraine, comes at a important time, as a international help bundle that features greater than $60 billion in navy support for Kyiv is stalled on Capitol Hill amid Republican resistance.

It quantities to one thing of a victory lap for Mr. Schumer, the New York Democrat who managed to maneuver the help invoice via the Senate this month with a resoundingly bipartisan vote that got here after months of partisan wrangling.

But it is usually a last-ditch bid to salvage the laws within the House. Under stress from right-wing hard-liners hostile to funding Ukraine’s conflict effort, the Republican speaker, Mike Johnson, has rejected bipartisan entreaties to place it on the ground.

Mr. Schumer plans to fulfill with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and his newly appointed navy commander, Oleksandr Syrsky. He mentioned he hopes to point out how congressional foot-dragging on extra support has damage Ukraine’s efforts on the battlefield and to attraction to House Republicans to take motion earlier than it’s too late.

“We suppose we will deliver again very sturdy, particular proof as to why Ukraine is, for the primary time, dropping the conflict — or, you realize, retreating within the conflict,” Mr. Schumer mentioned in an interview earlier than his departure. He cited an absence of ammunition — a key part of U.S. navy help packages since early 2022 — as a chief purpose. “We additionally suppose we will deliver again a view and provides nice element as to how Ukraine can win this conflict, in the event that they’re given what they want.”

It is unclear how loudly his message will resonate in Washington, although Russian assaults on Ukrainian cities present no signal of abating. On Friday, the Ukrainian Air Force mentioned it had shot down 23 of 31 Russian drones launched in a single day. The drones that breached Ukrainian air defenses badly broken residential buildings, with at the very least three civilians discovered dead underneath the rubble of a constructing within the southern port metropolis of Odesa, native authorities mentioned.

Mr. Schumer mentioned the first American viewers for this journey was Republican lawmakers who had voiced assist for Ukraine’s trigger however voted in opposition to sending extra navy help.

That group has grown considerably over the previous 12 months, as opposition to serving to Kyiv has change into a political crucial on the best, fueled partly by former President Donald J. Trump’s “America First” worldview. In the autumn, Republican leaders settled on a brand new message to justify the opposition, arguing that the United States had no enterprise serving to Ukraine preserve its sovereignty except or till it may safe its personal border with Mexico via extreme immigration restrictions.

“There are lots of people who’re torn, within the Senate and the House on the Republican aspect, who knew that is the best factor to do however are afraid of Donald Trump’s vindictiveness,” Mr. Schumer mentioned.

He mentioned he believed that was the case with Mr. Johnson, although the speaker has voted repeatedly in opposition to sending support to Ukraine.

“Speaker Johnson has talked favorably about Ukraine,” Mr. Schumer mentioned. “I believe he is aware of if he put a invoice on the ground, it will have a majority assist.”

Yet proponents of the help have made little headway with the speaker, who has by no means voted to assist Ukraine and is going through a risk from far-right Republicans to oust him from his place if he permits a vote on doing so.

After Representative Michael R. Turner, Republican of Ohio and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, led a bipartisan delegation this month to Kyiv, the place he met with Mr. Zelensky and promised the United States would produce further funding, Mr. Johnson confirmed no indicators of adjusting his stance.

“The Republican-led House is not going to be jammed or compelled into passing a international support invoice that was opposed by most Republican senators and does nothing to safe our personal border,” Mr. Johnson mentioned simply days after Mr. Turner’s journey.

Mr. Schumer is main an all-Democratic delegation together with Senators Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee; Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut; Michael Bennet of Colorado and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority chief who has been a vocal champion of aiding Ukraine, led a equally sized G.O.P. delegation to Ukraine in 2022.

The journey represents an enlargement of a global profile that Mr. Schumer has been attempting to domesticate since turning into majority chief. In the previous 12 months, he has logged journeys to India, Pakistan, Israel, China and varied factors in Europe. That contains final week, when he addressed attendees of the Munich Security Conference.

“The Europeans are aghast that America — who has all the time been the power of NATO, the power of the Western alliance — may consider turning its again on Europe,” Mr. Schumer mentioned of his discussions with international leaders in Munich concerning Ukraine. He mentioned his journey was essential for “displaying Europe that we’re not turning our again, we’re preventing for this and we’re going to maintain preventing till we get the help.”

Mr. Schumer added that he had no intention of succumbing to calls for from some Republicans that the United States focus its efforts in Ukraine solely on navy help and go away financial and humanitarian support to European counterparts. The Senate-passed invoice additionally contains financial and humanitarian support for Ukraine, to assist preserve civil infrastructure and help these displaced by the preventing.

He additionally indicated that he and officers on the White House had been exploring avenues to avoid House Republican resistance, if their efforts failed to steer Mr. Johnson and others to permit a vote.

“We are going to discover with the administration each manner we’d be capable of get this support,” Mr. Schumer mentioned. “It’s an important query for the globe; it’s an important query for historical past. It goes past the rapid politics of the second.”

Constant Méheut contributed reporting.



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