There appears to be no end in sight to the stream of American taxpayer dollars going to Ukraine. The U.S. has already allocated tens of billions in aid and arms to Ukraine since Russia invaded that nation in February, but now the Biden administration is seeking more. All told, the latest aid package would bring the total to over $100 billion in U.S. funding to Ukraine just this year. With the fighting between Russia and Ukraine continuing at a stalemate and no talks on ending the conflict, the White House is likely to be back at the taxpayer trough soon to seek billions more.
This is testing the patience of many Republican voters and a growing number of lawmakers. "It has been interesting over the last six months to see a massive shift in polling among Republican voters away from support for Ukraine," says Luke Macias, political commentator and podcast host. "When this conflict started nearly a year ago, a lot of Republicans said this is the right thing to do---to help Ukraine---but as time went on, they realized that even members of their own party seem more concerned with Ukraine's sovereignty than American sovereignty."
Indeed, the Ukraine issue will be front and center for the new GOP-led House. Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has already vowed to stop "blank checks" for Ukraine and promised more oversight and transparency. But some conservative groups and lawmakers are going further, pushing for an end to Ukraine aid at a time when inflation is soaring at home, there is a crisis of illegal immigration and drugs at the southern border, and other U.S. allies are facing needs of their own.
Fixing this growing fracture in the GOP over Ukraine may ultimately lie in the hands of McCarthy. "You'll notice leaders like (Senate GOP Leader) Mitch McConnell haven't been complaining about all the money going to Ukraine," says Macias. "They essentially, through their silence, have endorsed the status quo of blank check after blank check to Ukraine, regardless of how the money is spent."
"The money going to Ukraine is one of the first tests of that (fracture)," he continues. "And after McCarthy gets the speakership, if he does, it will be a big test for him to pass."