Leaders of the House Democrats said they “expect” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to queue up a Ukraine aid vote following the passage of a short-term spending bill that averted a government shutdown.
The joint statement, released by the office of House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) on Saturday, was quickly referred to as a “side deal” with Democrats by some Republicans who opposed the 45-day continuing resolution.
“When the House returns, we expect Speaker McCarthy to advance a bill to the House Floor for an up-or-down vote that supports Ukraine, consistent with his commitment to making sure that Vladimir Putin, Russia and authoritarianism are defeated,” the joint statement said. “We must stand with the Ukrainian people until victory is won.”
The statement was issued by Jeffries, Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (D-MA), Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (D-CA), and Vice Chair Ted Lieu (D-CA).
The House passed a 45-day continuing resolution without more aid for Ukraine — which is more than a year and a half into a conflict to fend off Russian invaders — by a 335-91 vote. The Democrat-led Senate approved it, and President Joe Biden signed the bill on Saturday night. The stop-gap legislation gives lawmakers time to come to an agreement on spending various parts of the federal government in the new fiscal year.
The House Democrat leadership statement prompted a firestorm on social media, although it remains unclear what the House would do next when it reconvenes.
“Wow. [McCarthy] made a side Ukraine deal with Democrats and didn’t tell House Republicans until after his Continuing Resolution passed. More deceit,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in a post to X. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) shared a public letter that urged McCarthy to “call for peace talks before you request more funding for a country that is not our own.”
Gaetz, while appearing on Sunday morning talk shows, also said he would move for a no-confidence vote against McCarthy that could lead to his ouster as speaker in the coming week, citing multiple gripes with the leader, including the Ukraine matter.
As noted by Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich, McCarthy “needs” support from Democrats to overcome any motion to vacate, and they are “making an ask now that McCarthy bring a Ukraine bill to the floor.”
Biden has asked Congress for roughly $24 billion in additional military and humanitarian assistance tied to the Ukraine conflict on top of the roughly $113 billion previously allocated.