The battle to raise the debt ceiling by $31.4 trillion has once again sparked debate in Congress over Ukraine’s defense funding. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on Tuesday he was not considering passing a bill to increase defense spending beyond what was included in the deal struck last week by congressional Republicans and the Joe Biden administration.
McCarthy’s words suggest that President Biden will face some resistance when the administration again asks Congress for additional funding for Ukraine. The House and Senate approved $48 billion in December for Kiev before Republicans took control of the House.
This money is expected to last at least until September 30, until the end of the current fiscal year. Lawmakers said Biden could ask Congress for additional funding for Ukraine in August or September.
The debt ceiling agreement Biden signed with McCarthy on Saturday capped national security spending for the year ending September 30, 2024 at $886 billion. This amount is lower than the level advocated by proponents of increased Pentagon funding in Congress.
After some Republicans threatened to vote against the deal because of the tightening of the defense funding process, Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate vowed that the restrictions would not prevent the House from passing additional legislation on the spending to provide more money to Ukraine and the Pentagon.
However, McCarthy, who brokered the deal with Biden, said he would not allow an automatic vote on the supplementary question in the Republican-led lower house of Congress.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s Ukraine or something else. The idea that someone wants to make changes (to the budget) after we have just reached an agreement is an attempt to derail the agreement,” McCarthy said, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill.
McCarthy said he supports Ukraine in the fight against the Russian invasion. However, he would like to have more information before moving on.
“I don’t give money to give money. I want to see what the goal is, what result you want to achieve, and then see the plan to see if that plan can actually work,” he said. .
Republicans in the House of Representatives want funding for Ukraine — or other priorities — to move forward “business as usual” as Congress passes 12 appropriation bills that fund government work.
In this context, the speaker himself has faced Republican opposition to attempts to pass a bill that could allow regulators to ban the production of gas stoves in the United States.
Several far-right Republicans on Tuesday blocked McCarthy’s attempt to introduce two bills in the House that Republicans are pushing to thwart efforts to ban gas stoves.
Conservative Ralph Norman, when asked by reporters if he and other Republicans retaliated against McCarthy’s deal with President Biden to raise the national debt ceiling, said the decision was due to “many things”.
Norman recalled that in January, during the election of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, his faction colleagues “insisted on…honesty, real cuts (budget spending) and the promotion of economic security”.
Dozens of Republicans in the House of Representatives last week voted against passing a bill to cap the debt ceiling. They wanted much bigger spending cuts than those spelled out in the deal between McCarthy and Biden.
On Tuesday, 220 members of Congress refused to support consideration of two bills aimed at preventing a ban on the production of gas stoves in the United States and setting new energy-saving standards for production of these cookers in the future.
Meanwhile, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has begun collecting information on the health risks of gas stove emissions. Agency chief Richard Trumka admitted in January that a ban on gas stoves could be introduced, but any regulatory changes, if ever made, would be “a long process”, Trumka said.
Some state and local governments have begun banning the installation of gas stoves and water heaters in new buildings to reduce harmful emissions that contribute to climate change.
If Republicans manage to push the bills through the House of Representatives, they could face resistance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
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