Senate majority leader blasts GOP members who voted against Ukraine aid

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Photo credit Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

For the most part, a bill providing $40.1 billion in aid to Ukraine received support from both Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) had a message for the 11 who voted against it.

“While most Senators in both parties want this package done, it is beyond troubling to see a growing circle of Senate Republicans proudly oppose Ukrainian funding,” he said.

GOP members who voted “nay” on the bill were: Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).

Paul spoke against the bill Thursday, arguing that Americans might not be in favor of paying for it.

“There is no free lunch, $40 billion cannot be created out of thin air,” he said.

A poll conducted this month by The Economist and YouGov found that more than 60% of respondents thought it would be a good idea for the U.S. to send more aid to Ukraine.

In addition to the 11 Republican Senators who voted against sending additional aid to Ukraine, 57 GOP members in the House of Representatives voted against the legislation. They included: Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), Matt Gaetz (R. Fla.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), among others.

Schumer called the group who voted against the aid bill “MAGA” Republicans, referring to former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

“It appears more and more MAGA Republicans are on the same soft-on-Putin playbook that we saw used by former President Trump,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated the ongoing invasion of Ukraine in late February. This invasion is illegal under international law, said an analysis from the Council on Foreign Relations think tank.

Schumer said Thursday that he views Putin as a “war criminal.”

According to a Friday update from the United Nations Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights, there have been 8,189 civilian casualties recorded since the Russian attacks on Ukraine began, including 3,838 deaths and 4,351 injuries.

When President Joe Biden signs the recently passed bill into law, funds will be appropriated for “defense equipment, migration and refugee assistance, regulatory and technical support regarding nuclear power issues, emergency food assistance, economic assistance, and seizures of property related to the invasion,” per a bill summary.

“I wish I could say this vote would be totally unanimous,” said Schumer. “Every single Democrat in the House voted for this emergency aid package for Ukraine and every single Democrat in this chamber, the Senate, is ready to support the Ukrainians as they defend their young Democracy. But unfortunately, once again with MAGA Republicans, who seem to be out of line in so many ways, the story is different on the Republican side.”

Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed that Congress should pass the aid package.

“The most expensive and painful thing America could do in the long run would be stop investing in sovereignty, stability and deterrence before its too late,” he said.

Both Schumer and McConnell warned that not sending aid to Ukraine would send the wrong message to “adversaries” and “enemies” of the U.S.

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“Adversaries on the other side of the world would be tempted to follow Russian lead,” said McConnell, and Schumer said it would make it seem like the U.S. is divided and lacks purpose.

“I applaud the Congress for sending a clear bipartisan message to the world that the people of the United States stand together with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their democracy and freedom,” said Biden Thursday in a statement regarding the aid package.

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