US Will Pay Ukrainian Salaries Despite Shutdown

The United States would have continued paying the salaries of Ukrainian government officials even while its own workers went without. A last-minute deal was reached, however, that avoided a government shutdown, with funding assured until November 17. In the lead-up to the October 1 deadline, federal employees faced weeks without wages while taxpayers would have carried on paying thousands of Ukrainian staff.

America has given more than $113 billion to Ukraine so far, and another package worth $325 million was promised during a recent visit to New York by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The former commander of US forces in Europe, Retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, said Americans are becoming weary, and President Biden has failed to show why continued funding is essential. “If you think about it, Russia has been for decades, and still is, an existential threat for Europe and the United States,” he said.

Nevertheless, the new deal does not include an agreement for more aid to Zelensky – a loss for Democrats who argued for its inclusion. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy defied many in his party in putting the deal to a vote, and commentators speculate that he could pay a high political price when the dust settles. Ninety House Republicans voted against the agreement, and some have threatened to challenge Mr. McCarthy’s role as Speaker in light of it.

McCarthy said he had tried “every possible way” to bring his party’s dissenters on board, but he added, “I wanted to be part of a conservative group that gets things done.”

While Democrats vowed to fight for continued support of Ukraine, many acknowledge the task is becoming more difficult, and Republican opposition is gaining ground. Speaker McCarthy may placate the anti-funding voice in his party as he once again confirmed he would not tolerate putting “Ukraine in front of America” during the recent negotiations. “I think the administration has to make the case for what is victory,” he said.