Pelosi endorses strategy to tie Ukraine, COVID aid

COVID-19 aid in Congress is still stuck, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday endorsed an idea to get it moving by tying it to Ukraine aid.


That strategy is being considered by Senate Democratic leaders, who see the popular Ukraine assistance as a could-be sweetener for the more controversial health care funding, which Republicans have threatened to block amid the partisan fight over President Biden’s pandemic policies at the Southern border.


The immigration impasse has led some Democrats to warn against linking the Ukraine and coronavirus funding, for fear of delaying crucial aid to the embattled Ukrainians just as Russian forces have escalated their attacks in the Eastern Donbas region.


Pelosi on Friday emphasized that the negotiations are currently centered in the Senate, not the House. But she also made clear that she’d prefer to have the two funding bills packaged together for reasons of expediency.


“I’m all for that,” the Speaker told reporters in the Capitol. “I think it’s very important. We have emergencies here. We need to have the COVID money, and time is of the essence because we need the Ukraine money. … So I would hope that we can do that.”


“This is called legislating,” she continued, “and we’ll have to come to terms on how we do that.”