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Did House Speaker Kevin McCarthy make a secret deal with Biden on Ukraine?

White House addresses "deal" on Ukraine aid
White House addresses "deal" on Ukraine aid 05:33

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden are facing a barrage of questions about whether they made a secret side deal on Ukraine funding, after McCarthy headed off a government shutdown by dropping the funding from a last-minute, short-term spending bill over the weekend. The measure passed the House with the support of all the Democrats except one, and lost the votes of 90 Republicans.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, who says he plans to file a motion to oust McCarthy as speaker within days, spoke on the House floor Monday, demanding to know "what was the secret side deal on Ukraine?" 

He accused McCarthy of "cutting a side deal to bring Ukraine legislation" to the floor in a vote separate from the short-term spending bill. 

The president himself certainly fueled the idea, when CBS News asked him on Sunday, "Are you going to be able to trust Speaker McCarthy when the next deal comes around?"

"We just made one about Ukraine," he replied. "So, we'll find out."

The removal of $6 billion in Ukraine funding from the temporary spending bill caused Sen. Michael Bennet, Democrat of Colorado, to put a hold on the bill when it arrived at the Senate a few hours before a shutdown would take effect if the resolution were not passed. He dropped his hold after Senate leadership released a statement saying, "In the coming weeks, we expect the Senate will work to ensure the U.S. government continues to provide critical and sustained security and economic support for Ukraine."

When McCarthy was asked about the existence of a side deal Monday at the Capitol, he told reporters, "There is no side deal going on."

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dodged several questions Monday from reporters seeking clarity on whether there's a deal with McCarthy to pass Ukraine funding soon. She pointed out there has been "overwhelming support" for Ukraine in Congress and noted McCarthy has said he supports providing Ukraine with the weapons it needs. "We expect him to keep his word on that," she said.

But continuing support for Ukraine has divided House Republicans, and last week, a supplemental Ukraine security bill had more GOP opposition than support, with 117 Republicans voting against it and 101 voting for it.

After a White House event Monday afternoon, reporters shouted questions to the president about the existence of a Ukraine deal. Mr. Biden ignored them. 

Ellis Kim and Kristin Brown contributed to this report.

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