Get Ready For a Busy Lame Duck

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. (Photo by Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images.)

The man most likely to become House speaker next year has been signaling plans for the upcoming Congress, and his comments have set Democrats and even some Republicans on edge. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s musings on the debt ceiling and the future of aid to Ukraine could lead to an interesting lame-duck session—but it’s complicated.

Let’s start with Ukraine.

Ambiguity Is the Point

America has authorized more than $60 billion in aid to Ukraine since the war began earlier this year. When McCarthy suggested this week that a Republican House may not be willing to offer more, he left a lot of wiggle room. And his office isn’t offering clarity on what, exactly, he meant.

The ambiguity is probably intentional: Republicans on the whole haven’t quite determined whether they will go along with the conventional foreign-policy wing of the party and continue to support Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion. The anti-interventionist, Donald Trump-backed sect of the GOP that doesn’t want to spend money on a war in Europe could still win out. If Republicans take one or both chambers of Congress next month, they might ultimately meet in the middle.

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