November will be a critical month for the war in Ukraine, but not because of weather affecting battlefield conditions or the possibility of further Russian escalation, nuclear or otherwise. No, the coming month will be critical because of the midterm congressional elections in the United States, scheduled for Nov. 8.
The opposition Republicans are expected to regain control of the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate, which would give them full control of the legislative branch of government and put them in position to undermine U.S. efforts to support Ukraine militarily. The current Republican minority leader in the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, remarked that while Ukraine was an important issue, “I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession, and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine.” A day later, he elaborated on those comments, reiterating that while he supported defeating Russia, “there should be no blank check on anything. We are $31 trillion in debt.”
McCarthy’s remarks were immediately condemned by Republicans in Congress and beyond. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who has broken with the party leadership over its lax response to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, bluntly observed that a lot of people around the world “are worrying about what a Republican majority could do.” Former Vice President Mike Pence directly condemned the idea of even reducing any aid to Ukraine, stating, “We must continue to provide Ukraine with the resources to defend themselves. We must continue to bring economic pressure of the most powerful economy in the world on Russia, and we must continue to provide the generosity, compassion and prayers of the American people until Russia relents and until peace is restored.”