Visiting Ukraine, Schumer Aims to Pressure G.O.P. to Take Up Aid Bill

Senator Chuck Schumer, the bulk chief, is touring to Ukraine on Friday for a go to meant to present American solidarity with a democratic ally below assault by Russia and enhance the pressure on Republicans to drop their opposition to extra U.S. assist.

The journey, Mr. Schumer’s first official one to Ukraine, comes at a vital time, as a international help package deal that features greater than $60 billion in army assist for Kyiv is stalled on Capitol Hill amid Republican resistance.

It quantities to one thing of a victory lap for Mr. Schumer, the New York Democrat who managed to maneuver the help invoice via the Senate this month with a resoundingly bipartisan vote that got here after months of partisan wrangling.

But additionally it is a last-ditch bid to salvage the laws within the House. Under pressure from right-wing hard-liners hostile to funding Ukraine’s warfare effort, the Republican speaker, Mike Johnson, has rejected bipartisan entreaties to put it on the ground.

Mr. Schumer plans to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and his newly appointed army commander, Oleksandr Syrsky. He stated he hopes to present how congressional foot-dragging on extra assist has damage Ukraine’s efforts on the battlefield and to attraction to House Republicans to take motion earlier than it’s too late.

“We think we will be able to bring back very strong, specific evidence as to why Ukraine is, for the first time, losing the war — or, you know, retreating in the war,” Mr. Schumer stated in an interview earlier than his departure. He cited an absence of ammunition — a key element of U.S. army help packages since early 2022 — as a chief purpose. “We also think we can bring back a view and give great detail as to how Ukraine can win this war, if they’re given what they need.”

It is unclear how loudly his message will resonate in Washington.

Mr. Schumer stated the first American viewers for this journey was Republican lawmakers who had voiced assist for Ukraine’s trigger however voted towards sending extra army help.

That group has grown considerably over the previous 12 months, as opposition to serving to Kyiv has change into a political crucial on the fitting, fueled partly by former President Donald J. Trump’s “America First” worldview. In the autumn, Republican leaders settled on a brand new message to justify the opposition, arguing that the United States had no enterprise serving to Ukraine keep its sovereignty except or till it might safe its personal border with Mexico via extreme immigration restrictions.

“There are a lot of people who are torn, in the Senate and the House on the Republican side, who knew this is the right thing to do but are afraid of Donald Trump’s vindictiveness,” Mr. Schumer stated.

He stated he believed that was the case with Mr. Johnson, although the speaker has voted repeatedly towards sending assist to Ukraine.

“Speaker Johnson has talked favorably about Ukraine,” Mr. Schumer stated. “I think he knows if he put a bill on the floor, it would have a majority support.”

Yet proponents of the help have made little headway with the speaker, who has by no means voted to assist Ukraine and is dealing with a menace from far-right Republicans to oust him from his place if he permits a vote on doing so.

After Representative Michael R. Turner, Republican of Ohio and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, led a bipartisan delegation this month to Kyiv, the place he met with Mr. Zelensky and promised the United States would produce extra funding, Mr. Johnson confirmed no indicators of adjusting his stance.

“The Republican-led House will not be jammed or forced into passing a foreign aid bill that was opposed by most Republican senators and does nothing to secure our own border,” Mr. Johnson stated simply days after Mr. Turner’s journey.

Mr. Schumer is main an all-Democratic delegation together with Senators Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee; Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut; Michael Bennet of Colorado and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority chief who has been a vocal champion of aiding Ukraine, led a equally sized G.O.P. delegation to Ukraine in 2022.

The journey represents an enlargement of a global profile that Mr. Schumer has been making an attempt to domesticate since changing into majority chief. In the previous 12 months, he has logged journeys to India, Pakistan, Israel, China and numerous factors in Europe. That contains final week, when he addressed attendees of the Munich Security Conference.

“The Europeans are aghast that America — who has always been the strength of NATO, the strength of the Western alliance — might think of turning its back on Europe,” Mr. Schumer stated of his discussions with international leaders in Munich concerning Ukraine. He stated his journey was essential for “showing Europe that we’re not turning our back, we’re fighting for this and we’re going to keep fighting until we get the aid.”

Mr. Schumer added that he had no intention of succumbing to calls for from some Republicans that the United States focus its efforts in Ukraine completely on army help and go away financial and humanitarian assist to European counterparts. The Senate-passed invoice additionally contains financial and humanitarian assist for Ukraine, to assist keep civil infrastructure and help these displaced by the combating.

He additionally indicated that he and officers on the White House had been exploring avenues to circumvent House Republican resistance, if their efforts failed to persuade Mr. Johnson and others to permit a vote.

“We are going to explore with the administration every way we might be able to get this aid,” Mr. Schumer stated. “It’s a crucial question for the globe; it’s a crucial question for history. It goes beyond the immediate politics of the moment.”

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