Americans’ support for arming Ukraine slips as price tag surpasses $75 billion


A smaller share of Americans support the U.S. providing weapons to Ukraine, according to a poll released Thursday from Reuters and Ipsos.

Just 41% of respondents agreed that Washington “should provide weapons to Ukraine” while 35% disagreed, with the remainder saying they were unsure. In May a similar poll showed 46% support for arming Ukraine with 29% opposed.

Support among self-identified Democrats for sending weapons fell to 52% from 61% in May, while Republican support dipped to 35% from 39% over the same period.

The flagging support comes as the price tag for Ukraine war aid has surpassed $76 billion, according to an analysis by the Council on Foreign Relations and as the debate over providing more aid has split the Republican party and contributed to former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California losing his leadership position.

The leading contenders for to replace McCarthy as speaker, Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Steve Scalise, are known to be against providing additional funding for Ukraine.

“Prospects for any Ukraine funding don’t look good in the context of a Scalise-Jordan race for speaker,” James Lucier of Capital Alpha Partners wrote in a Wednesday note to clients, adding that any new funding would now likely have to “come by means of a Senate bill that passes the House in a bipartisan vote,” likely only after a Republican-led government shutdown driven by party divisions on the issue.

That’s despite the fact that a majority of House Republicans support more money for Ukraine, as evidenced by the fact that 126 Republicans voted against a recent amendment to a defense funding bill that would prohibit Ukraine military assistance, compared to 93 GOP representatives who voted for it.

President Biden has forcefully called on Congress to appropriate more funds to the war effort, saying last week that “we cannot under any circumstances allow America’s support for Ukraine to be interrupted.”

The president was scheduled to receive a briefing on Ukraine from members of his national security team at noon Eastern, the White House said. Biden is also planning to soon deliver ” a major speech on Ukraine,” according to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, though the timing of the speech is unknown.

The impact of withdrawing aid from Ukraine on U.S.-China relations could affect how Republicans approach the issue going forward, according to Brian Gardner, Washington strategist at Stifel.

If Ukraine funding is cut, “it could embolden China in its efforts to retake Taiwan, just as the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan appears to have encouraged Russia vis-à-vis Ukraine,” he wrote in a Wednesday note.

“This would be a longer-term geopolitical consideration, as it again raises concerns regarding U.S. international commitments,” he added. “Some investors are not yet considering the broader ramifications of House Republican politics which have implications for both domestic and foreign policy.”



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