Ukraine funding rises as major political lightning rod in government shutdown fight

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Disagreements over Ukraine aid are threatening to be a major factor in a looming government shutdown if lawmakers can’t agree on how to fund the government by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

Sending U.S. dollars to Kyiv for its fight against a Russian invasion has been a point of contention for a significant number of GOP lawmakers in the House, and even several in the Senate. 

The House Rules Committee staged an emergency meeting on Wednesday night to strip $300 million in Ukraine aid from the defense spending bill, one of 12 that lawmakers are passing to fund the government after Sept. 30. It came hours after Fox News Digital first reported that objections to those provided funds were threatening to tank the bill.

The $300 million funding got a separate vote late on Thursday night after the Rules Committee separated it – more than half of the Republican conference voted against it. The bill passed with the support of all 210 present Democrats and 101 of 218 voting Republicans. 

Meanwhile, in the Senate, the inclusion of $6 billion for Ukraine in a stopgap funding bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), has made the bill a nonstarter in the House, according to Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has also pledged to force the chamber to slow-walk any CR that includes additional aid toward Kyiv’s effort.

House and Senate lawmakers must come together on some funding agreement before midnight on Sunday to avert a partial government shutdown. 

A majority of Republicans in both chambers do support aid for Ukraine – amendments to stop or limit those funds offered with the defense spending bill were defeated by Democrats and more than half of the GOP conference. 

But in the House specifically, the GOP’s razor-thin majority has given a smaller faction of hardliners outsized influence over the rest of the conference. 

‘I’ve been clear from day one, that no money should be going to Ukraine, that our position should be bringing peace to that country. We’re currently right now funding the destruction of Ukraine,’ Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who voted to block a procedural measure over her opposition, told Fox News Digital on Wednesday.

It comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy came to Capitol Hill earlier this month and, in a sign of the tensions over the subject, he was not given the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress as he did previously. 

Instead, he met with leaders and some lawmakers in the House and delivered a separate address to the Senate. 

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