The Daily Beast: Ukraine Aid Could Be on the Chopping Block in a GOP-Controlled House.
Democrats and Republicans have both been backing Ukraine aid for months now. But there’s a growing sense of unease on Capitol Hill that something could soon happen to disrupt that financial support: Republicans could win the House in November.
“I’m absolutely not supporting any further funding for Ukraine,” Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Daily Beast last week….
Throughout Congress, Republican support for providing Ukraine aid has swung in multiple directions since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the war earlier this year. Several GOP lawmakers have told The Daily Beast they think President Joe Biden is being far too “weak” on Russia and not sending enough weapons to help Ukrainians fight back.
But there’s also been a strong and steady resistance to sending billions of dollars to Ukraine, even as Putin wages war. Some Republicans have tried to blame the war on Biden and have said they would rather focus on domestic priorities—from inflation to the southern border—and want to condition Ukraine aid on other issues, whatever the consequences may be in withholding aid from Ukraine.
Dozens of Republican members of the House have already sought to throw up roadblocks to Ukraine aid packages. Fifty-seven Republicans tried blocking $40 billion in aid to Ukraine earlier this year, in addition to 11 Republican Senators. Not a single Democrat tried to stand in the way.
Amherst Campus (MA) no.1 (1969) Fairfield Porter. Parrish Art Museum, New York.
In other Ukraine aid news, Elon Musk’s has threatened to stop supporting Starlink in the country. Starlink is the Musk-owned satellite system that supports internet communication in the Ukraine. He has wavered on this decision, but the Biden administration doesn’t trust him. Politico: Pentagon eyes locking in Starlink funding for Ukraine.
The Pentagon is considering paying for the Starlink satellite network — which has been a lifeline for Ukraine — from a fund that has been used to supply weapons and equipment over the long term, according to two U.S. officials who are involved in the deliberations.
The Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative is designed to provide enduring support for the Ukrainian military by financing contracts with American firms for weapons and equipment that would be delivered in months or even years….
The discussion comes after CNN reported that SpaceX warned the Pentagon last month that it would no longer be able to finance the satellite terminals and communications services, which has already cost it over $80 million and could cost hundreds of millions more over the next year….
The company donated the use of Starlink terminals after Russia invaded Ukraine in February amid fears that the country would be cut off from the outside world. SpaceX’s philanthropic efforts drew widespread plaudits.
The Defense Department said on Friday that it was continuing discussions with SpaceX about a way forward. But it also said it is considering other alternatives for commercial satellite communications.
Elon Musk has shown his cards recently, offering a suggestion for negotiated peace in Ukraine that would favor Russia’s interests. Insider: Elon Musk’s pro-Russian peace deal is ‘classic Putin,’ and there’s a clue of the Russian leader’s role, Fiona Hill argues.
Elon Musk’s recent efforts to broker a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine have almost certainly been puppeteered by Vladimir Putin, according to top Russia expert Fiona Hill.
“Putin plays the egos of big men — gives them a sense that they can play a role. But in reality, they’re just direct transmitters of messages from Vladimir Putin,” Hill told Politico this week, noting that the Tesla billionaire has tipped his hand in an obvious display of Putin’s influence.
Earlier this month, Musk tweeted a proposed peace plan he suggested could end the war in Ukraine that parroted Russian demands and echoed Kremlin talking points.
Autumn Leaves, Lake George (1924) Georgia O’Keeffe. Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio.
Ian Bremmer, a prominent political analyst, later reported that Musk spoke privately with Putin before drafting his proposition — an allegation that Musk denied.…
While it was his October 3 tweets that garnered buzz around the globe, Musk was publicly evoking Putin’s desires even earlier.
Hill cited Musk’s September appearance at a conference in Aspen, during which he suggested a similar path forward through the war, encouraging Ukraine to “seek peace” by allowing Crimea — a territory which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 — to be recognized as Russian.
Musk also reportedly told attendees that the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in Ukraine ought to be up for grabs. Russia annexed four occupied Ukrainian territories just days later, including the two mentioned by Musk.
You can also check out an interesting interview with Fiona Hill at Politico: Fiona Hill: ‘Elon Musk Is Transmitting a Message for Putin.’’
Some Democrats have been getting wishy-washy about promoting abortion as a top tier issue in the upcoming elections, but Joe Biden still seems to think it’s important. Politico: Biden to pledge legalizing abortion on Roe anniversary if Dems expand majorities.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday will promise that the first bill he’ll send to the next Congress will be legislation to reinstate the abortion protections of Roe v. Wade, according to a Democratic official previewing the president’s remarks.
In a speech at a Democratic National Committee event in Washington, Biden will also pledge to sign that bill into law around the anniversary of the original Roe ruling in late January.
Biden’s plans are contingent on Democrats holding the House and increasing their majority in the Senate, a factor acknowledged by the official previewing the remarks. As such, it is a vow that appears aimed at energizing Democrats to turn out in force in the upcoming midterm elections where the party is struggling to keep its slim majorities, as polls show early outrage over the fall of Roe v. Wade this June has been outstripped by economic concerns.
Biden has increasingly escalated his attacks on Republicans over abortion rights since the high court’s ruling this summer overturning Roe. He’s repeatedly predicted that there will be a massive surge of voter activity in the midterms pushing back against the decision — particularly from women voters. Biden also has argued that abortion will be just the start of GOP attempts to dial back rights, warning that protections for contraception and same-sex marriage could be next.
“Republicans don’t have a clue about the power of women,” he told a gathering of Democrats recently. “Let me tell you something: They’re about to find out.”
Golden Autumn, 1888, by Ivan Shishkin, Russian painter
Meanwhile, women in red states are still dealing with the GOP’s efforts to take control of their bodies. Caroline Kitchener at The Washington Post: Desperate pleas and smuggled pills: A covert abortion network rises after Roe.
Monica had never used Reddit before. But sitting at her desk one afternoon in July — at least 10 weeks into an unwanted pregnancy in a state that had banned abortion — she didn’t know where else to turn.
“I need advice I am not prepared to have a child,” the 25-year-old wrote from her office, once everyone else had left for the day. She titled her post, “PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!”
Within hours, she got a private message from an anonymous Reddit user. If Monica sent her address, the person promised, they would mail abortion pills “asap for free.
Monica didn’t know it at the time, but her Reddit post connected her to a new facet of the battle for abortion access: the rise of a covert, international network delivering tens of thousands of abortion pills in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in June that struck down Roe v. Wade.
The emerging network — fueled by the widespread availability of medication abortion — has made the illegal abortions of today simpler and safer than those of the pre-Roe era, remembered for its back alleys and coat hangers. Distinct from services that sell pills to patients on the internet, a growing army of community-based distributors is reaching pregnant women through word of mouth or social media to supply pills for free — though typically without the safeguards of medical oversight.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
That’s all I have for you today. What’s on your mind? What stories are you following?