House Speaker McCarthy plans to confront Zelensky over Ukraine funding
The political clash on Capitol Hill over aid to Ukraine will be front and center when President Volodymyr Zelensky meets with lawmakers in Washington later this week.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, said he had questions for the Ukrainian president when asked if he planned to commit to another round of aid.
“Is Zelensky elected to Congress? Is he our president? I don’t think I should do anything and I think I have questions for him,” McCarthy told ABC News congressional correspondent Rachel Scott.
“Where is the accountability for the money we’ve already spent? What is the plan for victory? I think that’s what the American public wants to know,” McCarthy added.
Funding for Ukraine is a major point of conflict within the party as Congress approaches a September 30 deadline to pass a spending measure or enter a government shutdown.
The White House requested an additional $24 billion to support Ukraine in its war against the Russian invaders, a request supported by Democrats in Congress.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has publicly called for continued defense and financial assistance. But McCarthy is more skeptical, and a growing number of hard-line Republicans in the House of Representatives strongly oppose sending more money to the war-torn country.
McCarthy has repeatedly said that the United States should not give Ukraine a “blank check”, although he strongly criticized Russia’s actions.
“Look at what Russia did — the invasion — it was wrong,” McCarthy said Tuesday. “It’s an atrocity, we want to make sure this ends. I’ve always said from the beginning, no matter what the issue, I want accountability for anything hardworking taxpayers spend their money on. I want to plan for victory. So no, I’ll listen to the American public. I’ll follow what happens “In Congress, but I will have questions for President Zelensky.”
Zelensky will arrive in Washington after appearing before the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
He is scheduled to meet with President Joe Biden at the White House and visit Capitol Hill on Thursday.
Addressing the UN meeting on Tuesday, Biden urged world leaders to stand by Ukraine as the war continues.
He added: “We must confront this blatant aggression today, and deter any other potential aggressors tomorrow. That is why the United States, along with our allies and partners around the world, will continue to stand with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend Ukraine.” “Their sovereignty, territorial integrity, and freedom,” Biden said to applause.
Zelensky was able to secure more funding — $50 billion — when he was last in Washington. His exciting visit last December was his first known trip outside Ukraine since the war began.
Speaking to a packed joint session of Congress, Zelensky made a plea for additional arms and financial aid. “Money is not charity,” he told lawmakers.
“It is an investment in global security and democracy that we deal with in the most responsible way,” he said to cheers.
ABC’s Alexandra Hutzler contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com