Pelosi pushes back on the left on Ukraine aid

Russia At War

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) smiles before a two-day summit of European parliaments’ speakers in Zagreb, Croatia.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday vowed more aid for Ukraine when lawmakers wrap up must-pass government funding legislation later this year, the day after a group of House progressives called for a renewed push to find a diplomatic solution to the war there.

Pelosi, speaking during a visit to Croatia, pledged more support while touting the aid Congress has allocated for Ukraine so far under the Biden administration.

“When I had the privilege of leading a congressional delegation to Kyiv in May and met with President [Volodymyr] Zelensky and the Speaker and others, we conveyed a message of America’s unwavering support for Ukraine. Under President Biden, America’s delivered on that promise,” Pelosi said at the First Parliamentary Summit of the International Crimea Platform.

She went on to note the billions of dollars in military, economic, humanitarian and budget assistance the U.S. has provided Ukraine amid its war with Russia, saying, “more will be on the way when we pass our omnibus funding bill this fall.”

The Speaker also doubled down on the nation’s support for Ukraine in a follow-up statement issued on Tuesday: “Under President Biden, our support for Ukraine — and our determination to defend democracy — is here to stay until victory is won. Slava Ukraini!”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus had raised eyebrows on Monday with a letter to Biden calling for a shift in his administration’s response to the ongoing invasion, including pushing for talks with Russia in hopes of a “realistic framework for a ceasefire.”

The caucus put out second statement clarifying its position later in the day, after the earlier request prompted questions and pushback from some Democrats.

“In a letter to President Biden today, my colleagues and I advocated for the administration to continue ongoing military and economic support for Ukrainians while pursuing diplomatic support to Ukraine to ensure we are helpful partners on efforts to reach ‘a solution that is acceptable to the people of Ukraine,” Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said.

“Let me be clear: we are united as Democrats in our unequivocal commitment to supporting Ukraine in their fight for their democracy and freedom in the face of the illegal and outrageous Russian invasion, and nothing in the letter advocates for a change in that support,” Jayapal added.

Lawmakers have approved more than $60 billion in aid for Ukraine so far, including $12.3 billion in security and financial assistance as part of a larger government funding bill Congress passed last month.

Members on both sides have expressed support for continued assistance in recent weeks, but there have been questions about how much aid the U.S. will provide in the coming Congress, particularly as Republicans have also faced internal rifts around the funding.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in an interview last week that Republicans will not write “a blank check” to Kyiv if they seize the majority in next month’s midterms, prompting Biden to say he feared for the future of U.S. support.

“I am worried about it because they said they would cut it,” Biden said.

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