- The US provides crucial military support to Ukraine amidst the ongoing war, with broad support from top officials including President Joe Biden, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
- While aid to Ukraine is generally supported by both parties in Congress, there are subsets of Republican and Democratic backbenchers who advocate for reducing or ending aid, reflecting divisions within the political landscape.
- Public opinion on US aid to Ukraine is polarized along party lines, with Democrats largely supporting aid and Republicans expressing more opposition. However, overall support for military spending and Ukraine’s success in the war remains high among the American public.
The war in Ukraine rages on, the United States continues to provide crucial military support. US aid enjoys broad support from top officials in the US federal government, including US President Joe Biden, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Similar levels of support also exist among backbench politicians in the US Congress, with most Democrat and Republican lawmakers expressing support for continued aid. Despite this support, however, a closer look at the opinions and actions of backbench politicians and the general public paint a more complex picture.
While aid to Ukraine is generally supported by both parties in Congress, there exists a small subset of Republican and Democratic lawmakers who back-cutting all or most support. For instance, last February, Republican lawmaker Matt Gaetz and 10 other Republican backbenchers introduced a “Ukraine Fatigue” resolution that would end all military and financial aid to Ukraine in order to force Ukraine and Russia to come to a peace agreement.
A similar call for a settlement was made last October by 30 Democratic backbenchers, although they quickly reversed positions under pressure from party leadership. While cutting existing aid has been resisted by both parties, there is growing pushback by Republican leadership to providing additional support to Ukraine.
These divisions mirror those of the much more polarized general public. Recent polling by Pew Research confirms that support for Ukraine is largely based on political party, with Democrats mostly supporting Ukraine, and Republicans mostly against supporting Ukraine. Pew also found that 44% of Republican or Republican-leaning respondents thought too much aid was being given to Ukraine.
Despite of opposition to Ukraine aid amongst Republicans, support for military spending, in general, r remains high, with a poll by the Reagan Foundation finding that 75% of Americans say it is important that Ukraine wins its war with Russia. As most aid to Ukraine passes through the US military, and since cutting it would mean cutting military spending, it is unlikely that current aid will disappear in the immediate future.
Nevertheless, the future of US aid to Ukraine remains far from certain. Support for ongoing aid by politicians and the American public going into 2024 and beyond depends on both the battlefield successes of the Ukrainian military as well as the winner of next year’s presidential election.
Indeed, while Biden supports Ukraine almost without limit, the likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been sympathetic to Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past, and recently refused to commit to backing Ukraine in the war if he wins. Should the Ukraine War drag on into 2024, and should Donald Trump win, US aid may be reduced or disappear entirely.
In contrast, if Biden wins the next election, US aid will likely stay at current levels, although support for it will likely grow more partisan as it becomes more linked with Biden. In the end, the future of US aid to Ukraine will ultimately be decided at the ballot box instead of the Oval Office.