Biden warns Republican House that opposition to Ukraine financing would ‘play into Putin’s hands’

(Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

Biden warns Republican House that opposition to Ukraine financing would ‘play into Putin’s hands’



February 13, 2024

President Biden on Tuesday urged Republicans in the House of Representatives to get behind legislation that would send $60 billion to Ukraine for its fight against Russia. He warned that the opposition would play into Putin’s hands.

“Supporting this bill is standing up to Putin, opposing it plays into Putin’s hands,” Biden said.

Biden’s comments came after the Senate passed a $95.3 bill early Tuesday

billions in aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, after months of difficult negotiations and growing political divisions within the Republican Party over the role of the United States abroad.

Biden also lashed out at former President Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination, who said during a campaign appearance on Saturday that he once warned that he would let Russia do whatever it wants to NATO member states that are negligent in spending 2% of their major domestic product on defense.

When America gives its word


it means something, Biden said. Donald Trump views this as if it were a burden.

The Senate vote came after a small group of Republicans opposed to the $60 billion for Ukraine spoke all night in the Senate, using the final hours of the debate to argue that the US is on its own problems before sending more money abroad. But 22 Republicans joined nearly all Democrats in voting for Package 70


On September 29, supporters argued that leaving Ukraine could embolden Russian President Vladimir Putin and threaten national security around the world.

With this bill, the Senate declares that America’s leadership will not falter, will not falter and will not fail, said Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer.


who worked closely with Republican leader Mitch McConnell

of Kentucky

about the legislation.

The bills’ passage through the Senate with strong support from the Republican Party was a welcome sign for Ukraine amid critical battlefield shortages.

Still, the package faces a very uncertain future in the House of Representatives, where it will be difficult

Republicans joined the former president



the frontrunner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, and

a critic of support for Ukraine opposes the legislation.

Speaker Mike Johnson


cast new doubt on the package in a statement Monday evening, making clear that it could take weeks or months for Congress to send the legislation to Biden’s desk, if at all.

Biden, for his part, called on Johnson to put the issue to a vote.

Let’s keep this going,” Biden said. We can’t run away now. That is what Putin is betting on.”

Biden, in an earlier statement, urged the House to take urgent action: We cannot afford to wait any longer. The cost of inaction is rising every day, especially in Ukraine.”

We are already seeing reports that Ukrainian troops on the front lines are running out of ammunition, while Russian forces continue to attack and Putin continues to dream of subjugating the Ukrainian people, the president said.

Schumer said strong bipartisan support should put pressure on Johnson to advance the bill. McConnell has made Ukraine his top priority in recent months and stood firm despite significant pushback from his own Republican conference.

The longtime Republican leader spoke directly to his opponents in a statement


History settles every score. And today, history will show that the Senate did not blink an eye when it comes to the value of American leadership and American strength.

The dollars provided by the legislation would buy U.S.-made defense equipment, including ammunition and air defense systems that authorities say are desperately needed as Russia ravages the country. It also includes $8 billion for the government in Kiev and other aid.

For us in Ukraine, continued American assistance helps save lives from Russian terror, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on social media. It means that life in our cities will continue and the war will prevail.

In addition, the legislation would provide $14 billion for Israel’s war with Hamas, $8 billion for Taiwan and partners in the Indo-Pacific to counter China, and $9.1 billion in humanitarian aid for Gaza and the West Bank, Ukraine and other population groups trapped in the war. conflict areas around the world.

Progressive lawmakers have objected to sending assault weapons to Israel, and Senator Bernie Sanders

(I-Vt.), an independent from Vermont,

as well as Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Peter Welch of Vermont voted against.

“I cannot in good conscience support sending billions of additional taxpayer dollars to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s military campaign in Gaza,” Welch said. It is a campaign that has killed and injured a shocking number of civilians. It has caused a massive humanitarian crisis.

The passage of the law followed nearly five months of torturous negotiations over a sweeping bill that would have combined foreign aid with an overhaul of border and asylum policies. Republicans demanded this trade-off, saying the wave of migration to the United States must be addressed alongside the security of allies.

But a bipartisan agreement on border security fell apart just days after the revelation, a staggering development that left negotiators deeply frustrated. Republicans declared the bill insufficient and blocked it in the Senate.

After the deal collapsed, the two leaders abandoned the border provisions and continued to pass the foreign aid package alone, as Democrats had originally intended.

Although the pared-down foreign aid bill ultimately garnered healthy support from the Republican Party, several Republicans who had previously expressed support for Ukraine voted against it. The episode further exposed divisions within the party and became more public as Trump dug in and a handful of lawmakers openly called on McConnell to resign.

Senator JD Vance, a Republican from Ohio, argued that the US should step back from the conflict and help end it with Russia’s Putin. He questioned the wisdom of continuing to fuel Ukraine’s defenses while Putin appears willing to keep fighting for years.

I think it’s about the reality we live in, which is that they are a more powerful country, and it’s their region of the world, he said.

Vance, along with


Senator Rand Paul


and other opponents spent several hours on the floor railing against the aid and complaining about the Senate trial. They did their utmost to delay a final vote and spoke in the chamber until dawn.

Supporters of the aid pushed back, warning that bowing to Russia would be a historic mistake with devastating consequences. They pointed out that if Putin were to attack a NATO member in Europe, the US would be bound by treaty to become directly involved in the conflict, a commitment that Trump has questioned as he seeks another term in office. the White House.

Many Republicans in the House of Representatives have opposed the aid and are unlikely to thwart Trump, but some key Republican lawmakers have indicated they will push to get the aid approved.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike

Turner (R-Ohio)

traveled with a bipartisan delegation to Ukraine last week and met with Zelensky. Turner posted on X, formerly Twitter, after the trip that I reiterated America’s commitment to supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

But Speaker Johnson is in a difficult position. A majority of his conference opposes the aid, and he is trying to lead the smallest majority and avoid the fate of his predecessor, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.


who was murdered in October.

Johnson said in a statement Monday that the country is silent on the most pressing issue facing our country because the foreign aid package does not include provisions for border security. It was the latest and potentially most consequential sign of opposition to Ukraine aid from the Republican Party leadership in the House of Representatives, which had rejected the bipartisan border compromise as a non-starter, contributing to its rapid demise.


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