McCarthy declines to host Capitol meeting with Zelensky amid GOP split over Ukraine funding

McCarthy is expected to privately meet with Zelensky, in contrast from the full Senate meeting organized by Schumer.

Published: September 21, 2023 8:39am

Updated: September 21, 2023 8:41am

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is not hosting a meeting on Capitol Hill with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, even though the leader of the war-torn country is scheduled to meet the entire Senate in the U.S. Capitol, as Republicans are divided over continuing U.S. funding to Kyiv in the fight against Russia.

House lawmakers who want to hear from Zelensky will need to leave the Capitol to meet with him Thursday at the National Archives, "The New York Times" reported. 

McCarthy (R-Calif.) is still expected to privately meet with Zelensky, but his decision not to host a meeting with all House members on Capitol Hill comes as dozens of Republicans have expressed opposition to President Joe Biden's latest request for $24 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

Additionally, a third of House Republicans have voted over the past few months to cut Ukraine spending. About 40 hard-line conservative lawmakers have threatened to boycott any spending bill with what they call a "blank check" for Kyiv as U.S. debt reached more than $33 trillion.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, in contrast, is hosting a closed-door meeting for all 100 senators in the Capitol. However, some Republicans have already said they do not plan on attending the session with Zelensky. 

"I'm going to be the one that says, ‘If you want more help from us, the E.U. ought to be doing their fair share,'" Indiana Republican Sen. Mike Braun said.

Zelensky, who is coming to D.C. after attending the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, also plans on meeting with President Joe Biden and Pentagon leaders Thursday.

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