Zelenskyy to visit DC as pre-Christmas push for Ukraine cash intensifies

With hat in hand, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit Washington this week hoping to grease the wheels for additional funding for the war in Russia — with a wide-open southern border and an astounding 8 million-plus illegal immigrants entering the United States over the past three years, Republicans are tying future assistance to border security.

Invited by President Biden, Zelenskyy is expected to meet with the president at the White House, and will meet with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) at the U.S. Capitol.


“President Biden has invited President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to the White House for a meeting on Tuesday, December 12 to underscore the United States’ unshakeable commitment to supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s brutal invasion,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

“As Russia ramps up its missile and drone strikes against Ukraine, the leaders will discuss Ukraine’s urgent needs and the vital importance of the United States’ continued support at this critical moment,” the president’s affirmative action spokesperson added.

Raj Shah, the Deputy Chief of Communications for Speaker Johnson, announced in a tweet that Speaker Johnson will meet with Zelenskyy at the U.S. Capitol.

Speaker Johnson will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday — Raj Shah (@RajShahDC) December 10, 2023

Senate Republicans blocked a $111 billion emergency supplemental bill last week that would have provided aid to Ukraine and Israel over a lack of border provisions in the measure. According to Border Patrol, apprehensions on the border with Mexico are currently higher than they have ever been in U.S. history, with thousands of illegal immigrants from all over the world, including China and the Middle East, flooding into the country daily.

“Today’s vote is what it takes for the Democratic leader to recognize that Senate Republicans mean what we say,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said. “Then let’s vote. And then let’s finally start meeting America’s national security priorities, including right here at home.”

In a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young last week, Johnson said that “supplemental Ukraine funding is dependent upon enactment of transformative change to our nation’s border security laws.”

Under pressure from GOP lawmakers insisting that something be done about the broken southern border, the speaker told fellow Republicans on Tuesday that major changes to U.S. border policy would be their “hill to die on” in negotiations over funding for the wars in Ukraine and Israel, according to the Associated Press.

“The battle is for the border,” Johnson said at a news conference. “We do that first as a top priority, and we’ll take care of these other obligations.”