Matt Gaetz reveals new plan for Ukraine aid money

Matt Gaetz

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, revealed a new plan for money the United States could get back from Ukraine if a new aid bill passes.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, unveiled three separate bills on foreign aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression, to Israel in its war against Hamas and the Indo-Pacific region amid growing tensions with China. The Israeli aid program also includes humanitarian aid for Gaza.

The most controversial bill of the three is the one regarding Ukraine, as support for funding the war-torn country has waned among Republican lawmakers. Under the Ukraine aid package, the Eastern European country will receive about $61 billion, but more than $9 billion in economic aid will be in the form of “forgivable loans.” .

Johnson also unveiled a new border security bill and aid programs on Wednesday. The bill largely resembles the tougher immigration bill known as H.R. 2, which passed the House last May and then blocked the Democratic-led Senate.

Gaetz filed an amendment to the Ukraine aid bill Thursday that would direct money the U.S. could recover from Ukraine toward building a wall to separate the U.S. border and Mexico, which is a longtime goal of former President Donald Trump’s party. America Great Again Movement (MAGA). Gaetz is a Trump ally and has opposed additional aid to Ukraine.

“Funds reimbursed by Ukraine pursuant to an agreement under this section shall be made available to the Secretary of Homeland Security, without exercise limitation, for the construction of a physical barrier along the southern border of the United States,” Gaetz’s amendment proposed. bed.

Representative Matt Gaetz speaks with reporters at the United States Capitol on January 10, 2024 in Washington, DC Gaetz revealed a new plan regarding money the United States could recover from Ukraine if a…

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Gaetz told the Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet, on Thursday: “My amendment to the $60.8 billion America Last Ukraine aid package should be a no-brainer.

“If Ukraine pays back some of the money we give it in this bill, that money should be spent on solving our country’s biggest domestic problem: building a border wall with Mexico.”

The congressman added: “Time and time again, Republicans have shown that they are not interested in voting for what the American people demand, but if we have billions at random for a war on the other end of the world, we should be able to get a certain table. leftovers for our own country. »

News week contacted Gaetz and Johnson’s offices via email for comment.

Johnson defended the aid programs, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday: “We know the emergency in Ukraine and in Israel, and we are going to stand with Israel, our close ally and dear friend, and we are going to defend freedom. and make sure (Russian President) Vladimir Putin doesn’t cross Europe.”

The speaker plans to put the foreign aid bills up for a vote Saturday evening. Although the bill still needs to pass the Senate and be signed by President Joe Biden to succeed, Biden has already signaled his support.

“I will sign this immediately to send a message to the world that we stand with our friends and we will not let Iran or Russia succeed,” Biden said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Trump complained about aid to Ukraine on his social media site Truth Social on Thursday, writing: “Why isn’t Europe giving more money to help Ukraine ? Why is the United States investing over $100 billion in the Ukraine war? Europe, and we have an ocean between us as a separation!”

The United States is Ukraine’s second largest donor, after the European Union (EU), which includes 27 European countries. However, most of the aid provided by European countries is in the form of financial aid, while the United States has provided far more military aid to Ukraine than the EU or any other country.

Updated 4/18/24, 5:47 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.