McConnell dismisses GOP’s bid for Ukraine aid ‘loan’

The idea of making some Ukraine aid into a loan is gaining traction within the GOP. Not with Mitch McConnell, though.

The Senate minority leader — and chief Republican proponent of new U.S. assistance for Ukraine’s defense against Russia — continued to throw cold water on any deviation from the Senate’s massive foreign aid bill and its $60 billion for Kyiv. Speaker Mike Johnson has remained generally supportive of Ukraine aid, though GOP resistance has so far stalled it in the House.

“We’re running out of time. And the best way we can get Ukraine the help they need is for the House to pass the Senate bill. The problem with changing it .. is it can take three days to do the simplest thing here in the Senate. We don’t have the time,” McConnell told reporters on Wednesday.

Some of McConnell’s members are floating the idea of a “waivable loan” for Ukraine. It’s a strategy designed to recognize the ever-growing influence of former President Donald Trump over the congressional GOP. Trump’s support for new Ukraine aid, which he has previously been cool to, would make it easier for Republicans to steer a package through the House.

At the moment, the House and Senate are focused on funding the government past Friday and avoiding a shutdown. Once that saga is over, the battle over whether to send Ukraine another tranche of funding will heat right back up.

And McConnell said his approach is pretty simple: “I’m continuing to advocate to the speaker that he put the bill on the floor and let people vote.”