There were 57 Republican House members and Sen. Rand Paul (R-K.Y.) to oppose the massive foreign aid package to Ukraine. Every Democrat in Congress voted in favor of the $40 billion war package to supply aid to Ukraine. Every member of the so-called “Squad” and other progressive Democrats voted for the gargantuan payout to Ukraine despite condemning military spending in the past.
President Joe Biden initially requested $33 billion for Ukraine, but Congress tacked on another $7 billion. The $40 billion is in addition to $14 billion in Ukrainian aid that Congress just approved in March.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) voted for the $40 million military package for Ukraine. However, AOC called for an amendment to cut the budget of the Pentagon by 10% to “prioritize the very needs of our communities here at home” in September 2021.
“I rise today to offer Amendment 40, to reduce the Pentagon budget by 10%, Ocasio-Cortez said on the House floor. “During a time when our country is withdrawing from foreign wars, when COVID 19 and its fallout is one of the greatest threats that we face, when record levels of unemployment, housing, and healthcare crises are among us, the United States should be reducing its military spending by at least 10% and prioritize the very needs of our communities here at home.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) voted in favor of the package, but had a very different viewpoint in March.
“A lot of progressives, I feel, have abandoned their principles of being anti-war, anti-broad-based sanctions, anti-harmful policies that not only impact us here in the United States, but inadvertently impact the civilians of our adversary regime,” Omar told Insider in March.
Progressive Caucus co-chairs Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) previously declared that there was “no military solution out of this crisis” and the “flood of hundreds of millions of dollars in lethal weapons will only raise tensions.”
“We continue to watch Russia’s threatening behavior towards Ukraine with alarm. There is no military solution out of this crisis — diplomacy needs to be the focus. We support the Biden administration’s efforts to extend and deepen the dialogue, allowing for robust negotiations and compromise,” the progressive Democrats proclaimed in January. “We have significant concerns that new troop deployments, sweeping and indiscriminate sanctions, and a flood of hundreds of millions of dollars in lethal weapons will only raise tensions and increase the chance of miscalculation. Russia’s strategy is to inflame tensions; the United States and NATO must not play into this strategy.”
Independent journalist Glenn Greenwald points out in a Substack article, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) discussed the Russian invasion of Ukraine during a “Democracy Now” appearance on Feb. 8. Khanna asserted that sending lethal aid to Ukraine “will only inflame the situation.”
I certainly join [House progressives] in the concerns of having increased aid, lethal aid, into that area. That will only inflame the situation. I also join them in the concern that we need restraint, that the last thing the American people want is an escalation which could lead us to some long war in Ukraine with Russia, that that’s a very dangerous situation, and no one in this country — or, very few people in this country would want that. There’s a reason President Obama didn’t send lethal aid into Ukraine and had a greater restraint in his approach. So, I do think we should do everything possible not to escalate the situation, while having the moral clarity that Putin is in the wrong in this case.
In October 2020, Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) proclaimed that she is going to “defund the Pentagon.”
— Cori Bush (@Cori Bush)
However, this week, Bush bizarrely attempted to justify her vote by highlighting that billions of dollars in military equipment will be sent overseas to private defense contractors.
“Additionally, at $40 billion, this is an extraordinary amount of military assistance, a large percentage of which will go directly to private defense contractors,” Bush said in a statement. “In the last year alone, the United States will have provided Ukraine with more military aid than any country in the last two decades, and twice as much military assistance as the yearly cost of war in Afghanistan, even when American troops were on the ground. The sheer size of the package given an already inflated Pentagon budget should not go without critique. I remain concerned about the increased risks of direct war and the potential for direct military confrontation.”