House GOP Ukraine skeptics draw battle lines ahead of funding fight

Members of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and their allies are drawing lines in the sand ahead of what’s expected to be an intense inter-GOP battle over additional aid for Ukraine. 

The House of Representatives is expected to take up the issue of Ukraine and supplemental foreign aid the week after next, three sources told Fox News Digital. 

Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good, R-Va., called for any funding to Ukraine to be balanced out by spending cuts elsewhere and for it to be paired with U.S. border policy changes.

‘We cannot continue to borrow and spend money we don’t have for wars overseas while failing to protect Americans from the Biden border invasion here at home,’ Good told Fox News Digital earlier this week. ‘At a bare minimum, any package for military aid to Ukraine should be fully offset and must include H.R. 2 with performance metrics to secure our own border.’

The position has since been echoed by other members of the House GOP’s right flank. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., told Fox News Digital on Friday, ‘Any lethal military assistance to Ukraine that fails to meet these critical requirements is a total nonstarter.’

‘House Republicans were tasked with getting our country back on track — starting with cutting spending and securing the southern border,’ Clyde explained. ‘Abandoning these priorities while advancing a pricey package to defend Ukraine’s borders would represent an utter betrayal of the American people.’

And former Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry, R-Pa., told Fox News Digital, ‘We stand with Ukraine. Our priority, however, must be America… Our debt is $35 trillion next month; any foreign aid package must be heavily scrutinized.’

Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., similarly said on ‘Mornings With Maria’ this week, ‘Now, if there are no offsets, if there are not concessions made to pay for this, more borrowing is not the answer. And that’s where [Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La.] is going to have to step up, use the leverage he has as speaker, to get concessions.’

And while the two concessions outlined by Good are likely not going to sway the most hard-line critics into supporting Ukraine aid, it’s a signal that they might not throw up many significant roadblocks or threaten Johnson’s gavel over its passage.

Freedom Caucus members and their allies have in the past forced House leadership to bypass regular procedural hurdles to put bills on the floor under suspension of the rules, in exchange for raising the threshold for passage to two-thirds rather than a simple majority. 

The issue has driven a wedge within the House Republican Conference, with a growing number of GOP lawmakers skeptical of the U.S.’ continued support for Ukraine as it continues to fight off Russia’s invasion. 

Johnson has floated multiple proposals this week that appear to be aimed at easing concerns from the right wing of his conference. He’s suggested aiding Ukraine in the form of a loan, a plan the speaker said is supported by former President Donald Trump, as well as weakening Russia’s energy-dominated economy by forcing the Biden administration to reverse a pause on liquefied natural gas (LNG) export permits.

Johnson also floated getting some of the funding by liquefying seized Russian assets, a bipartisan plan introduced in the House and Senate last year.

But those proposals got a lukewarm reception at best from Ukraine funding skeptics.

‘I don’t think the conservatives would consider it enough without border security,’ one senior House GOP aide told Fox News Digital.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., wrote on X earlier this week, ‘There’s talk of ‘loaning’ the money & equipment to Ukraine. OK, why not loan the aid to Israel & Taiwan as well? Because they actually have the means to pay back the loan, that’s why. It’s a farce.’

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