Matt Gaetz's Chances of Getting His Ukraine Fatigue Bill Through the House

Congressman Matt Gaetz's legislation to discontinue all military and financial aid to Ukraine was introduced just prior to President Joe Biden making a surprise trip to the war-torn country.

The "Ukraine Fatigue" bill discourages all future military, financial and humanitarian aid spending for Ukraine in its war against Russia, and pushes for the two nations to reach a peace agreement.

It has been supported by 10 Republican co-sponsors: Representatives Andy Biggs of Arizona, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Mary Miller of Illinois, Barry Moore of Alabama, Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Matt Rosendale of Montana.

"Joe Biden's secret vacation to Ukraine soured the American people's confidence that he's putting our country first before foreign interests abroad," Gaetz told Newsweek on Tuesday. "As outcry for halting U.S. aid to Ukraine increases nationwide, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are taking my 'Ukraine Fatigue' resolution into greater consideration."

The United States' financial contributions are the most of any Ukraine ally, according to the resolution, including a recent $1.75 billion in security assistance announced February 3 by the Department of Defense accompanied by a presidential authorization for a drawdown of security assistance valued at up to $425 million.

Another drawdown valued at up to $460 million was announced by the DoD on Monday, for more ammunition for U.S.-provided HIMARS and howitzers—in addition to more Javelins, anti-armor systems and air surveillance radars.

It is the 32nd equipment drawdown made by the Biden administration since August 2021.

"President Joe Biden must have forgotten his prediction from March 2022, suggesting that arming Ukraine with military equipment will escalate the conflict to 'World War III,'" Gaetz said in a February 9 statement as he introduced his legislation. "America is in a state of managed decline, and it will exacerbate if we continue to hemorrhage taxpayer dollars toward a foreign war."

GOP Representatives, Senators Want More Aid, Not Less

Biden visited Kyiv and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday prior to making a speech about the ongoing conflict and continued aid on Tuesday in Warsaw, Poland.

On Monday, Gaetz tweeted a Fox News story about GOP lawmakers upset that Biden neglected the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, adding, "Ukraine can keep [Biden]."

Gaetz Zelensky Ukraine Russia Aid Fatigue Congress
U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, speaks during a business meeting prior to a hearing on U.S. southern border security, on February 1 in Washington, D.C. Inset: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. On February 9, Gaetz introduced legislation known as the "Ukraine Fatigue" bill, which would discontinue all future aid of any kind to Ukraine while urging the invaded country to reach a peace agreement with Russia. Drew Angerer/Getty Images; GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images

Retired U.S. Army General Mark Hertling on Monday tweeted about the dichotomy between Biden's trip to Europe and the legislation introduced by Gaetz and his Republican colleagues.

Hertling, the former commanding general of the U.S. Army Europe, wrote that he "went to bed disgusted" upon reading Gaetz's bill yet woke up "ebullient" to learn that Biden was in Kyiv.

"That's the difference between performance art & leadership," Hertling wrote.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who in January visited Ukraine and met with Zelensky, has praised the "determination and capabilities" of the Ukrainian military and citizens.

Graham urged for more weapons for Ukraine instead of less, including the delivery of tanks by the U.S.—which was ultimately approved.

"This is a big turning point in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia," Graham said at the time. "We cannot let Putin's bluster and threats determine the course of freedom for the 21st century."

On ABC News' This Week on Sunday, Graham told Martha Raddatz that Ukrainians should be getting training for F-16 fighter jets.

"How can you call this war by Russia a crime against humanity...and not give the victim of the crime against humanity the defensive weapons they need?" Graham said.

Texas Representative Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and House Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner told CNN's Pamela Brown on State of the Union on Sunday that bipartisan support for Ukraine is "still very strong."

"The longer [Biden administration officials] drag this out, they play into [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin's hands," said McCaul, who also hopes for the sending of F-16s. "He wants this to be a long, protracted war because he knows that potentially, he will lose, we could lose the will of the American people and therefore the Congress."

'Rare Exception in American Politics'

Hilary Appel, government professor at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, told Newsweek that even though the GOP representatives were unaware of Biden's intended trip to Ukraine, this moment in time is a "rare exception in American politics" based on support for Ukraine being louder than the calls for cutting all aid.

"The legislation does contradict the message of the president and other House members who want to demonstrate American resolve," Appel said. "In any case, Biden's extraordinary trip to Kyiv drowns out the effect of this bill, which was likely intended as a signal that the United States government is divided in its support of Ukraine."

Volodymyr Dubovyk, associate professor of international relations and director of the Center for International Studies at Mechnikov National University in Odesa, Ukraine, told Newsweek that Gaetz's legislation should not be a surprise considering the different wings within the current Republican Party.

He compared the GOP in the House to their colleagues in the Senate, drawing a distinction between House Republicans and the composition of the Republican faction led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"The House is much more diverse and volatile," Dubovyk added. "Ukrainians worried around midterm elections [this] time last year, thinking that it may result in the complete capture of the House by the Trump wing. This did not really happen.

"However, the influence of that wing in the faction, [the] House in general, and on Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy in particular, may be larger than the actual numbers. Can they hijack [the] Republican faction in the House on this issue? Hard to say. Will their niche and influence grow? Again, not entirely clear at this point."

He believes the aid in the near future remains safe due to allocations already made. For some, he said the issues are based on domestic politics within the U.S.

"Part of why these people take this position on Ukraine is because Biden supports Ukraine," Dubovyk said.