Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy weighs in on Ukraine funding, drama in House speaker fight

Louisiana GOP U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy said he supports more funding for Ukraine’s war effort against the Russian invasion, while also weighing in on the drama in the House, where a handful of Republicans are trying to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Senators agreed to temporarily scrap a plan to send $6 billion more to Ukraine, even though there is bipartisan support for the funding in the upper chamber, to get the House to agree to the weekend deal that avoided a government shutdown.

But one of the reasons the small minority of Republicans wants to oust their speaker is because they believe McCarthy and President Biden reached a secret deal to fund the Ukraine war effort in an annual spending bill once the temporary spending measure expires in 45 days.

“The 45-day period is not perfect, but it gives us time to find a permanent solution and make sure our troops don’t miss a paycheck,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy said he believes the U.S. should provide Ukraine with another round of funding not just for that country’s freedom fight, but also because it could weaken Russia’s ability to attack Americans abroad.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., speaks at a press conference on student loans at the U.S. Capitol on June 14, 2023 in Washington, DC.

“Russia is in Cuba, Africa, Venezuela; Russia is our enemy,” Cassidy said on a conference call with reporters. “We should support (Ukraine’s) fight for freedom and to degrade the effectiveness of one of our enemies.”

Biden has said he will find a way to fund Ukraine.

“We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted,” Biden said in a statement after signing the 45-day stopgap measure Saturday night that prevented the government shutdown.

As to whether McCarthy should survive as speaker, Cassidy said, “We don’t want chaos.”

“It does seem like he has the support of 98% of Republicans, so just because we’ve got to get things done it seems like McCarthy should stay in the position,” Cassidy said, especially until Congress can pass a long-term spending bill. “But that’s up to the House.”

More: Senator Bill Cassidy backs effort to raise federal minimum wage for first time since 2007

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.

This article originally appeared on Shreveport Times: Bill Cassidy weighs in on Ukraine funding, drama in House speaker fight

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