Congress cannot pass additional Ukraine aid without first reaching an agreement on border security and immigration. As a result, much of the focus inside the Capitol has been on the latter.
But the top Democrat and Republican in the Senate are spending a lot of time urging their colleagues to not lose sight of Russia’s ongoing assault on Ukraine.
Their comments underscore how that war has been overshadowed by recent headlines about the border talks stalling out, Israel’s military campaign in Gaza and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s failure to disclose his medical condition.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned Tuesday that the Ukrainians are “running out of ammunition.” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized what he called the “fickleness” of Western support for Ukraine.
According to several attendees, McConnell spoke during the GOP lunch about the need to pass a national-security supplemental funding package, mentioning Ukraine multiple times.
Minutes later at his weekly press conference, McConnell didn’t mince words about the state of global affairs:
McConnell also noted this week that Russia is escalating its attacks on Ukraine, including with ballistic missiles supplied by North Korea. And he mentioned the steady rise in Iranian proxies’ attacks on Israel as well as on American troops in the region.
Biden administration officials have been sounding the alarm on Ukraine’s dire outlook for months, and that hasn’t accelerated the glacial border talks.
The border security portion remains a must-have for even the GOP’s most vocal Ukraine hawks including McConnell, regardless of the dim prospects for House passage of an eventual border-Ukraine deal.
— Andrew Desiderio