President Joe Biden addresses the United Nations General Assembly in...

President Joe Biden addresses the United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan on Sept. 19. Credit: AFP via Getty Images/Timothy A. Clary

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden, in speeches to the United Nations and at the White House last week, sought to galvanize U.S. support for Ukraine as a faction of House Republicans threatened to derail Biden’s bid for additional aid to the war-torn country.

On the world stage, Biden has won plaudits for his push to keep NATO allies behind Ukraine nearly 19 months after the Russian invasion.

Back home, Biden faces roadblocks as a group of conservative House Republicans oppose a short-term spending package that includes more than $300 million in military aid for Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met Thursday with congressional leaders in Washington, D.C., and later with Biden, to press his case for more aid and to thank them for past support. But hours after his meeting with lawmakers, House Republicans left for the weekend after competing factions failed to reach a compromise on the short-term package.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s struggle to convince right-flank Republicans to back more Ukraine funding highlights the difficulty Biden faces as he tries to boost U.S. support for Ukraine and the increasingly delicate politics surrounding the aid, political analysts said.

Jeremi Suri, a presidential historian and global affairs professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said part of Biden’s challenge is fatigue among Americans asking when the Ukraine war will end.

“Zelenskyy was a heroic figure — it was a really glamorous story for a while and the story is fading in the vision of many Americans who are growing tired of this,” Suri said.

“They’re asking, how much longer can we just send money over there,” Suri said. “It’s not an unusual issue, that’s true with every war — the American attention span is a short attention span.”

Biden’s fight for more Ukraine funding comes as polls show waning support among Americans for the Ukraine war effort, even as Biden and Pentagon officials warn abandoning Ukraine would cede more power to Russian President Vladimir Putin and set an example that sovereign territories are up for grabs.

A CNN Poll released Aug. 4 found 55% of respondents said Congress should not authorize additional funding for Ukraine, compared with 45% who supported more funding.

The survey of nearly 1,300 U.S. adults highlighted the clear partisan divide over the issue — with 71% of Republicans saying Congress should not authorize new funding, and 62% of Democrats backing a funding increase.

In June, 70 House Republicans voted for a bill sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a member of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, that would have ended U.S. defense spending for Ukraine. The measure failed.

Even so, McCarthy can only afford to lose four votes in a narrowly split House to pass any funding bill, and the June vote underscored his challenge in trying to win over Ukraine war skeptics.

Gaetz and other Freedom Caucus members have raised questions about Ukraine’s ability to defeat Russia, and questioned whether Zelenskyy has a strategy to end the war.

None of Long Island’s four GOP House members voted for Gaetz’s measure, but some of the members called for additional spending on border security and increased oversight on the spending, in exchange for their support.

Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Amityville) in a statement said he would not support Biden's request for Ukraine aid "before the President secures our southwest border, reinstates Title 42, stops the fentanyl scourge and ends NYC's migrant crisis."

Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) said the United States "must continue its support of Ukraine against the unjust Russian assault," adding that he expects "the funding for this effort to be included in a larger spending package that incorporates strengthening our border, bolstering the ranks of border patrol, and additional national security and transparency provisions." 

Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) in a statement said: “I will continue advocating for funding packages that provide the Ukrainian people with the tools they need in their struggle for freedom, while also ensuring any foreign aid goes through a vigorous oversight process and is closely tracked by American authorities."

Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau/Queens), in a post Saturday on the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter, described himself as opposed to more aid to Ukraine.

“We have given over $100B to Ukraine & this war seems to have no end in sight,” Santos wrote.

Moderate Republicans such as Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, chairman of the House Select Intelligence Committee, said after the congressional meeting with Zelenskyy Thursday that they were confident Zelenskyy had a long-term plan to defeat Putin’s forces.

Zelenskyy “gave us details on the offensive that were very positive and his long-term goals and objectives,” Turner told reporters. “People in the room appreciated and supported it.”

White House officials say despite the House GOP infighting, they believe lawmakers will move ahead with a package that includes funding for Ukraine.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, speaking to reporters on Thursday, said the administration was confident there would be bipartisan support for Ukraine.

“There is a vocal, quite small minority of members who are raising questions,” Sullivan said. “There is a very strong, overwhelming majority of members, both Democrats and Republicans, who want to see aid continue. And I believe that’s where the American people are as well. So, I believe that will shine through in the end.”

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), in a Senate floor speech after meeting with Zelenskyy on Thursday, asserted U.S. military assistance was leading to a turning point in the war.

“This is not just about Ukrainian security, but as President Zelenskyy reminded us, it’s about American security as well because a victorious Putin would be an emboldened Putin,” Schumer said.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said: “American support for Ukraine is not charity. It’s in our own direct interests — not least because degrading Russia helps to deter China.”

But House Republicans opposed to new spending continued to raise questions about how Ukraine has spent billions of dollars in U.S. funding to date.

“We owe it to the American taxpayers to get an accountability of that money, the accountability of the weapons, to get a current status of what’s going on in Ukraine … and what is needed to win and how we are going to be involved in it before we invest.” Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Hofstra University political science professor Richard Himelfarb said funding for Ukraine likely will win approval. But he said the funding fight highlights the battle between the wing of the Republican Party that supports former President Donald Trump’s “America First” approach to foreign policy and Republicans more aligned with the traditional GOP positions of former Presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

“Even though there is opposition in the Republican Party, there are still those old-fashioned defense hawks … there is still that constituency, and then you’re going to get the vast majority of Democrats who are going to support aid to Ukraine in the House,” Himelfarb said.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden, in speeches to the United Nations and at the White House last week, sought to galvanize U.S. support for Ukraine as a faction of House Republicans threatened to derail Biden’s bid for additional aid to the war-torn country.

On the world stage, Biden has won plaudits for his push to keep NATO allies behind Ukraine nearly 19 months after the Russian invasion.

Back home, Biden faces roadblocks as a group of conservative House Republicans oppose a short-term spending package that includes more than $300 million in military aid for Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met Thursday with congressional leaders in Washington, D.C., and later with Biden, to press his case for more aid and to thank them for past support. But hours after his meeting with lawmakers, House Republicans left for the weekend after competing factions failed to reach a compromise on the short-term package.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • President Joe Biden faces stiff pushback from a group of conservative House Republicans who oppose a funding package containing more than $300 million in military aid for Ukraine.
  • Biden's campaign for more Ukraine funding comes as polls show waning support among Americans for the Ukraine war effort.
  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s struggle to convince right-flank Republicans to back more Ukraine funding highlights the increasingly delicate politics surrounding military aid for Ukraine.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s struggle to convince right-flank Republicans to back more Ukraine funding highlights the difficulty Biden faces as he tries to boost U.S. support for Ukraine and the increasingly delicate politics surrounding the aid, political analysts said.

Jeremi Suri, a presidential historian and global affairs professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said part of Biden’s challenge is fatigue among Americans asking when the Ukraine war will end.

“Zelenskyy was a heroic figure — it was a really glamorous story for a while and the story is fading in the vision of many Americans who are growing tired of this,” Suri said.

“They’re asking, how much longer can we just send money over there,” Suri said. “It’s not an unusual issue, that’s true with every war — the American attention span is a short attention span.”

Polls: Waning support for more funding

Biden’s fight for more Ukraine funding comes as polls show waning support among Americans for the Ukraine war effort, even as Biden and Pentagon officials warn abandoning Ukraine would cede more power to Russian President Vladimir Putin and set an example that sovereign territories are up for grabs.

A CNN Poll released Aug. 4 found 55% of respondents said Congress should not authorize additional funding for Ukraine, compared with 45% who supported more funding.

The survey of nearly 1,300 U.S. adults highlighted the clear partisan divide over the issue — with 71% of Republicans saying Congress should not authorize new funding, and 62% of Democrats backing a funding increase.

In June, 70 House Republicans voted for a bill sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a member of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, that would have ended U.S. defense spending for Ukraine. The measure failed.

Even so, McCarthy can only afford to lose four votes in a narrowly split House to pass any funding bill, and the June vote underscored his challenge in trying to win over Ukraine war skeptics.

Gaetz and other Freedom Caucus members have raised questions about Ukraine’s ability to defeat Russia, and questioned whether Zelenskyy has a strategy to end the war.

LI House members generally favor Ukraine aid

None of Long Island’s four GOP House members voted for Gaetz’s measure, but some of the members called for additional spending on border security and increased oversight on the spending, in exchange for their support.

Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Amityville) in a statement said he would not support Biden's request for Ukraine aid "before the President secures our southwest border, reinstates Title 42, stops the fentanyl scourge and ends NYC's migrant crisis."

Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) said the United States "must continue its support of Ukraine against the unjust Russian assault," adding that he expects "the funding for this effort to be included in a larger spending package that incorporates strengthening our border, bolstering the ranks of border patrol, and additional national security and transparency provisions." 

Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) in a statement said: “I will continue advocating for funding packages that provide the Ukrainian people with the tools they need in their struggle for freedom, while also ensuring any foreign aid goes through a vigorous oversight process and is closely tracked by American authorities."

Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau/Queens), in a post Saturday on the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter, described himself as opposed to more aid to Ukraine.

“We have given over $100B to Ukraine & this war seems to have no end in sight,” Santos wrote.

Moderate Republicans such as Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, chairman of the House Select Intelligence Committee, said after the congressional meeting with Zelenskyy Thursday that they were confident Zelenskyy had a long-term plan to defeat Putin’s forces.

Zelenskyy “gave us details on the offensive that were very positive and his long-term goals and objectives,” Turner told reporters. “People in the room appreciated and supported it.”

White House predicts passage of new aid

White House officials say despite the House GOP infighting, they believe lawmakers will move ahead with a package that includes funding for Ukraine.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, speaking to reporters on Thursday, said the administration was confident there would be bipartisan support for Ukraine.

“There is a vocal, quite small minority of members who are raising questions,” Sullivan said. “There is a very strong, overwhelming majority of members, both Democrats and Republicans, who want to see aid continue. And I believe that’s where the American people are as well. So, I believe that will shine through in the end.”

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), in a Senate floor speech after meeting with Zelenskyy on Thursday, asserted U.S. military assistance was leading to a turning point in the war.

“This is not just about Ukrainian security, but as President Zelenskyy reminded us, it’s about American security as well because a victorious Putin would be an emboldened Putin,” Schumer said.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said: “American support for Ukraine is not charity. It’s in our own direct interests — not least because degrading Russia helps to deter China.”

But House Republicans opposed to new spending continued to raise questions about how Ukraine has spent billions of dollars in U.S. funding to date.

“We owe it to the American taxpayers to get an accountability of that money, the accountability of the weapons, to get a current status of what’s going on in Ukraine … and what is needed to win and how we are going to be involved in it before we invest.” Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Hofstra University political science professor Richard Himelfarb said funding for Ukraine likely will win approval. But he said the funding fight highlights the battle between the wing of the Republican Party that supports former President Donald Trump’s “America First” approach to foreign policy and Republicans more aligned with the traditional GOP positions of former Presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

“Even though there is opposition in the Republican Party, there are still those old-fashioned defense hawks … there is still that constituency, and then you’re going to get the vast majority of Democrats who are going to support aid to Ukraine in the House,” Himelfarb said.

Cricket stadium coming down … Islanders preseason schedule … LI's disco history Credit: Newsday

DWI sentencing ... Hempstead house fire ... Cricket stadium coming down ... LIRR crime rate

Cricket stadium coming down … Islanders preseason schedule … LI's disco history Credit: Newsday

DWI sentencing ... Hempstead house fire ... Cricket stadium coming down ... LIRR crime rate

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