By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress will move quickly to consider President Joe Biden’s request for more aid for Ukraine, lawmakers said on Thursday, with members of both parties predicting strong support for the request even before knowing how large it would be.
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that the House would take up the Biden’s proposal as soon as next week.
“We’ll learn about that in the next day or so, to be taken up as soon as we can next week,” she told reporters at a photo opportunity with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal before a bipartisan meeting at the Capitol about the needs of Ukraine.
Support for Ukraine is one of the few areas of agreement between Biden’s fellow Democrats and Republicans. Previous aid packages for Ukraine, including $13.6 billion approved last month, have passed nearly unanimously in the Democratic-controlled Congress.
Biden, who announced an additional $800 million in military assistance for Ukraine on Thursday, said the amount of additional help in the upcoming request was still being decided.
“I think it will be met with strong bipartisan support,” Republican Senator Thom Tillis told reporters on a conference call from Kosovo, part of a bipartisan trip to Europe that also included stops in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Belgium.
“If you take a look at what President Zelenskiy and the Ukrainian army and the population as a whole have done, we owe them a debt of gratitude and one way we can pay it back is to make sure that we provide strong bipartisan support for additional funding,” Tillis said.
Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Europe subcommittee, also thought Congress would act quickly. “I believe there is strong bipartisan support to do everything we can to support the Ukrainians in this unprovoked war against Russia,” she said.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle Editing by William Maclean and Mark Potter)