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A collage showing the US Capitol, former US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz.

GZERO Media/ Jess Frampton

Washington chaos rings alarm bells in Ukraine and Europe

You’ve heard the news. Rebel Republicans and unsympathetic Democrats ousted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his job yesterday. That post is now officially “vacant.” For now, Patrick McHenry (R-NC) holds the post of Speaker Pro Tempore to ensure there’s someone there to keep the lights on and the process moving toward the election of a new speaker.

Americans (and the world) are now trying to figure out what it all means. But keep in mind, this has never happened before. The only previous attempt to fire a speaker of the US House of Representatives failed, and that was 113 years ago. The cliché “uncharted waters” fits perfectly here.

But … you’ve got questions, lots of questions, and I’m here to give you the best available answers.

We just survived a shutdown threat last weekend. Should we expect more of these congressional showdowns?

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Graeme Sloan/Reuters

Republican showdown over Ukraine

Kyiv is likely on tenterhooks after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday rebuffed the prospect of Congress passing a supplemental funding bill for Ukraine, saying that such a proposal “isn’t going anywhere.”

This is a big deal for two reasons. First, it is an obvious blow for Kyiv, which has become reliant on US economic and military aid – Washington has doled out $110 billion since the war started. The timing is also less-than-ideal considering that Kyiv has just gotten its much-anticipated counteroffensive off the ground.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Washignton, D.C.

Zelensky made his case to Congress. What happens next?

In a historic address to a joint session of the US Congress on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded his case for why the US should continue greenlighting security aid to his country. So what’s Zelensky getting and what does he still want? The Biden administration announced this week that it was earmarking another $45 billion – part of a sprawling $1.7 trillion government spending bill that passed the Senate on Thursday and awaits a House vote – in military assistance to Ukraine. Half of the funds will go toward arming Ukraine’s army and replenishing US stockpiles. Crucially, an additional $1.85 billion package was announced on Wednesday that includes the Patriot air defense system that Kyiv has long been requesting to help protect its energy infrastructure from Russian bombardments.

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Zelensky in Washington for arms & aid, not just symbolic support
What To Expect From Zelensky's Visit to Washington | US Politics in :60 | GZERO Media

Zelensky in Washington for arms & aid, not just symbolic support

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC shares his perspective on US politics.

What will the Ukrainian president's visit to Washington this week accomplish?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is meeting with President Biden in Washington this week and addressing a joint session of the US Congress, his first known trip out of the country since the beginning of the Russian invasion last February.

This visit is more than a symbolic one, as bipartisan support for Ukraine has been the key to the more than $60 billion in military and humanitarian assistance the US has provided to Ukraine since the beginning of the war, far more than any other country and a key ingredient in helping the Ukrainians resist the invasion. Zelensky is going to get more commitments from the US this week, including a Patriot missile system to help them shoot down Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure and an additional $45 billion in military and humanitarian aid that is designed to last through at least the end of Q3 next year.

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Will the 2022 midterms affect US support for Ukraine?
Will the 2022 Midterms Affect US Support For Ukraine? | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Will the 2022 midterms affect US support for Ukraine?

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC shares his perspective on US politics.

How is the US policy towards Ukraine shifting?

With Republicans well positioned to take control of the House of Representatives next year, the next likely Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, recently warned that the US would no longer give a "blank check" to Ukraine when Republicans were in charge. This has lots of folks worried about a softening commitment to financing the Ukrainian defense against the Russian invasion.

But should they be? The United States has committed over $60 billion in aid so far to fund the military effort, humanitarian aid, and to directly finance the Ukrainian government. That is a lot of money that passed very quickly with little debate in the US, though it is broadly in line with US public opinion. A poll from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found that 80% of Americans continue to support US economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia.

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