Nancy Pelosi and a delegation of Democratic lawmakers are heading back to Washington DC today to finalize Joe Biden’s $33bn request to Congress for Ukraine aid, after a whistlestop European tour.
The House speaker met on Monday in Warsaw with Poland’s president Andrzej Duda, thanking the country on behalf of the American people for “opening their hearts and homes” to almost 3m Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s war in their homeland.
A day earlier, Pelosi and Congress members made a high profile visit to Kyiv to discuss the conflict with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other government leaders, and Biden’s proposed financial package that would almost double previous US spending on Ukraine.
“Our Members discussed our countries’ continued commitment to Ukraine, particularly as the Congress prepares to transform President Biden’s new request for additional security, economic and humanitarian assistance into legislation,” Pelosi wrote in a statement after the Duda meeting.
The speaker was joined on the trip by Democratic representatives Jim McGovern and Bill Keating of Massachusetts; Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee of California, Gregory Meeks of New York, and Jason Crow of Colorado, according to The Hill.
Despite her comments, a vote to approve the White House request – $20bn in military aid, $8.5bn in economic assistance and $3bn in humanitarian relief – will likely have to wait. The House is not sitting this week while members attend to in-district business.
“If I were speaker for a day, I’d call Congress back into session, back into work,” the Texas Republican Michael McCaul, ranking member of the House foreign affairs committee, told ABC’s This Week on Sunday.
“Time is of the essence. The next two to three weeks are going to be very pivotal and very decisive in this war. And I don’t think we have a lot of time to waste.”
But McCaul was confident that Biden’s ask would be approved swiftly.
You can expect the White House press secretary Jen Psaki to face questions about it at her afternoon briefing.
Good morning blog readers, happy Monday and welcome to a new week in US politics.
Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, is in Warsaw today, discussing the Ukraine conflict with Poland’s president Andrzej Duda.
The final stop of a busy European tour, which also saw her in Kyiv over the weekend meeting Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, comes as lawmakers in Washington DC weigh up Joe Biden’s request for an additional $33bn in military, economic and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
The House is not in session this week, but the Republican ranking member of the foreign affairs committee, Michael McCaul, said he expects the chamber to move quickly on the president’s request.
Developments in the Ukraine-Russia war can be found on our main news blog here.
Here’s what we’re watching in the US:
- Donald Trump’s hold on the Republican party will be tested in congressional and governors’ primary elections beginning this week. Over the weekend Trump forgot the name of one candidate he endorsed, and promoted another in entirely the wrong state.
- Joe Biden also has trouble in spades, with inflation, immigration and crime weighing on Democrats’ chances of retaining control of Congress in November’s midterms. The president has two public engagements today, the civil service Presidential Rank awards and a White House reception to mark the end of Ramadan.
- The White House press secretary Jen Psaki will brief reporters at 2.30pm.