Matt Gaetz Reveals New Plan for Ukraine Aid Money

Representative Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, revealed a new plan for the money that the U.S. may get back from Ukraine if a new aid bill gets passed.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, revealed three separate foreign aid bills for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression, Israel in its war with Hamas, and the Indo-Pacific region amid rising tensions with China. The Israel aid package also includes humanitarian assistance for Gaza.

The most controversial bill out of the three is the one for Ukraine as support for funding the war-torn nation has dwindled among Republican lawmakers. In the Ukraine aid package, the Eastern European country will get about $61 billion, however, over $9 billion in economic assistance will be in a form of “forgivable loans.”

Johnson also unveiled a new border security bill along with the aid packages on Wednesday. The bill largely resembles the tough on immigration bill known as H.R. 2 that was passed by the House last May and then blocked by the Democratic-led Senate.

Gaetz filed an amendment to the Ukraine aid bill on Thursday that would allocate the money that the U.S. may get back from Ukraine toward the construction of a wall to separate the U.S.-Mexico border, which has been a longtime goal of former President Donald Trump‘s Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement. Gaetz is a Trump ally and has opposed additional aid to Ukraine.

“Funds repaid by Ukraine pursuant to an agreement under this section shall be made available to the Secretary of Homeland Security, without limitation as to fiscal year, for the construction of a physical barrier along the southern border of the United States,” Gaetz’s proposed amendment reads.

Matt Gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz speaks with reporters at the U.S. Capitol on January 10, 2024, in Washington, D.C. Gaetz revealed a new plan for the money that the U.S. may get back from Ukraine if a…

Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Gaetz told the Daily Caller, a conservative media outlet, on Thursday, “My amendment to the $60.8 billion dollar, America Last Ukraine aid package should be a no-brainer.

“If Ukraine pays back any part of the money we are gifting them in this bill, that money should be spent on our nation’s largest domestic problem: the construction of a border wall with Mexico.”

The congressman added: “Time and again, Republicans have shown that they have no appetite to vote for what the American people demand, but if we have random billions laying around for a war halfway across the world, we should be able to get some table scraps for our own country.”

Newsweek reached out to Gaetz’s and Johnson’s offices via email for comment.

Johnson defended the aid packages, telling CNN‘s Jake Tapper, on Wednesday, “We know the urgency in Ukraine and in Israel, and we are going to stand by Israel, our close ally and dear friend, and we’re going to stand for freedom and make sure that [Russian President] Vladimir Putin doesn’t March through Europe.”

The speaker plans to bring the foreign aid bills to a vote on Saturday evening. While the legislation still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden for it to be successful, Biden already has shown his support.

“I will sign this into law immediately to send a message to the world: we stand with our friends, and we won’t let Iran or Russia succeed,” Biden said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Trump complained about Ukraine aid on his social media site Truth Social on Thursday, writing: “Why isn’t Europe giving more money to help Ukraine? Why is it that the United States is over $100 Billion Dollars into the Ukraine War more than Europe, and we have an Ocean between us as separation!”

The U.S. is Ukraine’s second-largest backer, following the European Union (EU) which is comprised of 27 European countries. However, most of the assistance given by European countries is in the form of financial aid, while the U.S. has provided significantly more military aid to Ukraine than the EU or any other country.

Update 4/18/24, 5:47 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.