Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will travel to Washington Thursday to make a renewed pitch for American aid to support his country's ongoing fight against Russia, as a new round of funding is in limbo ahead of a looming government shutdown.
Zelenskyy's itinerary in D.C. includes a morning on Capitol Hill for bipartisan meetings with lawmakers. Afterward, he is expected to meet with U.S. military officials at the Pentagon before meeting with President Biden in the Oval Office — the sixth meeting between the two leaders.
Since the Russian invasion in February 2022, no country has provided more funding to Ukraine than the United States. Total aid to Ukraine has topped $112 billion, with another round of funding currently tied up in Congress.
But appetite to send new funds to Ukraine, among congressional lawmakers and the public alike, has begun to falter as the war enters its 20th month. A much-anticipated counteroffensive that began in June is still well short of Ukraine's stated goals, with just a month or two left before winter sets in.
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Biden has asked Congress to approve $24 billion in new aid to Ukraine. The funding has no obvious path to passage in the near term due as Congress nears an end-of-the-month deadline to approve new spending or face a government shutdown.
Far-right House Republicans have shown little appetite in approving a bill, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's leadership seat could be in danger.
In the long term, future packages of aid to Ukraine could become more politically difficult to pass.
Although Democrats are mostly unified behind the president in support for additional aid, more Republicans have started to voice their discontent. Some have expressed concern about the length of the war and Ukraine's chances of victory. Others, like Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, oppose funding for nearly all foreign interventions.
Like Congress, the American public is split in support for additional aid. A CNN poll last month showed that 71 percent of Republicans oppose new funding while 62 percent of Democrats support it.
Zelenskyy's visit comes the day after a meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York, where he urged the council to oust Russia as a permanent member. "Humankind no longer pins its hopes on the U.N. when it comes to the sovereign borders of nations," he said.
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