All 11 Bay State representatives and senators explain their support for the huge supplemental foreign aid package in a time of domestic crisis
Two weeks ago, President Joe Biden signed H.R.7691, the “Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022” into law—providing an astounding $40 billion in mostly military aid to the Ukrainian government to help the beleaguered nation attempt to beat back the ongoing Russian invasion of its sovereign territory. This on top of $13.6 billion the Biden administration and Congress had already given Ukraine in March and several other military aid packages.
The measure passed the House 368-57 and the Senate 86-11 with highly unusual bipartisan support. Every single Democratic congressperson voted in favor, including the entire Massachusetts congressional delegation.
Yet, uncharacteristically, Mass congresspeople—Democrats all—had very little to say in public about why they supported the transfer of vast amounts of federal money to Ukraine when so many vital domestic social programs they spend much of their time fighting for as generally left-leaning politicians continue to go unfunded or underfunded.
So DigBoston asked them all for statements on their yes votes on H.R.7691 and now publishes them here in the public interest. (For analysis and criticism of the aid package in question, please read the accompanying Apparent Horizon column, “Lack of Debate Most Disturbing Aspect of Mass Congressional Delegation’s Ukraine Vote.”)
Sen. Ed Markey
Russia’s unjust war in Ukraine has killed thousands, displaced millions and wrought untold harm on the country. The United States must meet this moment of great need, and this critical aid will ensure Ukraine can defend itself and protect its people in the weeks and months to come. We must continue to seek a path to diplomacy, but that is only possible if Vladimir Putin will come to the table. To date, at every turn he has doubled down on his brutal, unwinnable war.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
I was glad to support the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act to provide $40 billion to hold Vladimir Putin accountable for his brutal war in Ukraine. The bill will provide much needed economic and humanitarian relief to the innocent civilians impacted by this war, as well as crucial equipment that the Ukrainian people need to defend its sovereignty. Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine must be met with a strong, unified response from the U.S. and its allies, and I applaud Congress’s and President Biden’s work to meet the Ukrainian people’s urgent need. Congress must also exercise strong oversight and demand a full accounting of these taxpayer dollars.
Rep. Jake Auchincloss
Excerpt from a May 6 Washington Post op-ed co-authored with Rep. Liz Cheney (R – Wyoming) provided by Rep. Auchincloss’ staff:
It must be the policy of the United States that the strategic objective in Ukraine is victory for a free and democratic Ukraine, and defeat for Vladimir Putin. The strength of our democracy here at home depends on it.
The war in Ukraine entered a pivotal new phase on April 19. Russia is now fighting for complete control of Donbas and southern Ukraine. If successful, Putin’s forces will landlock and dismember the country — and may attack the capital again. What began as a war of maneuver, in which speed and mobility were critical, is becoming a war of attrition, in which firepower and willpower are ever more important.
The United States is critical to sustaining both for our Ukrainian allies. To balance the disparity in firepower, the U.S. government must guarantee weapons, training and intelligence support that Ukrainian forces can use. And it should work closely with European allies to wield primary and secondary sanctions to blockade Russian oil exports to reduce Moscow’s ability to fund its war machine. To buttress Ukrainian willpower, the United States should rally its NATO allies to make it clear that the sovereignty of Ukraine is not negotiable, and Putin must not benefit from his aggression.
Rep. Katherine Clark
As the war in Ukraine continues to unfold, killing thousands and displacing millions, it’s critical that the United States continue to support the people of Ukraine in their fight for democracy. The United States will not stand by while global peace and democracy are threatened and innocent lives are lost.
Rep. Bill Keating
Congress and the Biden administration have continued to move with historic speed, unity, and strength to support Ukraine in the face of Vladmir Putin’s brutality. The supplemental funding bill provides for weapons, security, and, most importantly, humanitarian aid for the people of Ukraine—and I am proud to have voted in favor of it.
We must ensure that Democracy triumphs over Dictatorship—our national security and the national security of our NATO and EU partners depend on it. I have met with Ukrainian refugees multiple times now in my capacity as Chair of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe during overseas trips with Speaker Pelosi and House Foreign Affairs Chairman Gregory Meeks. Ukraine is not a political talking point—Ukraine is a democratic, modern nation made up of human beings. Human beings who, up until Putin’s illegal invasion, were working for a better future for themselves and their families, not much different from what we do every day here in the United States. Not supporting this funding would mean voting against the refugees I met with who spoke of horrors inflicted upon them by Russian troops. Not supporting this funding would mean more starving Ukrainian families. Not supporting this funding would mean giving Putin one more advantage in his illegal war. And most importantly, not supporting this funding would be a clear sign of the U.S. ceding our power and responsibility as the leader of the free world. I am proud of my vote, I am proud to stand by the people of Ukraine, and I look forward to the day when Putin gives up.
Rep. Stephen Lynch
Entering its fourth month, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal and unprovoked invasion remains an unlawful affront to our rules-based international order and continues to exact a devastating toll on the Ukrainian people.
As Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, I recently led a bipartisan Congressional Delegation to Poland, Romania, Moldova, and multiple Ukrainian border entry points to observe efforts to deliver US and international security assistance to Ukraine. Our meetings with Ukrainian officials and civil society organizations underscored that the continued ability of Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression will be largely dependent on additional assistance from the US and the international community. In view of the escalating humanitarian crisis in the region, our Delegation also met with Ukrainian refugee families—including those crossing the Przemyśl Border Entry Point in Poland, the Siret Border Crossing Point in Romania, and the Palanca Border Crossing Point in Moldova—and examined host nation and international aid programs that provide food relief, medical care, housing, and other refugee assistance services. While Poland, Romania, and Moldova have established new refugee processing centers and relief programs in the wake of the Russian invasion, Eastern European officials widely reported that, absent additional international assistance, refugee services in Moldova—a non-NATO member and one of the poorest countries in Europe—and other host nations may soon reach capacity. And while the current approach of placing refugees in private homes is noble, it may not be sustainable as the war drags on and economic conditions in Europe worsen.
Following our Delegation, I proudly voted in favor of H.R. 7691, the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act—bipartisan legislation to provide more than $40 billion in security and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. In steadfast support of an independent and sovereign Ukraine and in furtherance of U.S. and international security, this vital aid package reinforces our abiding commitment to providing Ukraine with additional weapons, training, intelligence, and logistical support. It will help to ensure that Ukraine can sustain its valiant defense against Russia’s war of aggression, and it will direct economic relief to strengthen food security, healthcare services, and humanitarian programs serving the Ukrainian people. Importantly, this supplemental funding will also direct resources, including hardship pay, to our dedicated service men and women who have recently deployed to Poland, Romania, and other NATO member countries to bolster our security posture in Europe. Considering that this unjust war has already displaced more than 12 million Ukrainians, I am also grateful that this bipartisan legislation provides critical support for Ukrainian refugee assistance programs in order to redouble humanitarian operations already undertaken by our European allies and partners and strengthen our own commitment to welcoming Ukrainian refugees.”
Rep. Jim McGovern
After I visited Kyiv with Speaker Pelosi in May, it was clear that Putin could end Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine right now if he wanted. But, until that happens, the United States must do everything we can to protect innocent civilians and refugees from the violence and bloodshed that he has unleashed. The aid we delivered will ensure those defending democracy have what they need to keep their government running, preserve their nation’s sovereignty and provide relief to the thousands of civilian victims impacted by this senseless conflict. Ukraine is standing on the front lines of freedom. We ought to have their back.
Rep. Seth Moulton
Democracies should stand together to protect territorial sovereignty against unprovoked aggression. Sending additional aid to Ukraine is the right thing to do and I am proud to have voted for it. The Ukrainians fiercely defending their country rely on support from the U.S. and our partners. As long as this war lasts, I will vote to continue that support. Combined with sanctions, we’re sending the message to Putin and the rest of the world that this egregious behavior will not be tolerated.
Rep. Richard Neal
I was proud to vote for an additional $40 billion in assistance for Ukraine, as this Congress continues to demonstrate its unwavering resolve in responding to Putin’s cruel and unprovoked attack on the Ukrainian people,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “This funding will deliver the critical assistance Ukraine needs to protect its people and defend democracy, while providing much needed humanitarian assistance for Ukrainians in the United States and abroad. We will continue working alongside President Biden and our allies until this fight is won.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley
Statement from a Pressley spokesperson:
The Congresswoman voted in support of the bill in order to send an unprecedented amount of life-saving humanitarian aid and refugee assistance to address the crisis unfolding in Ukraine. She remains deeply concerned about the dangers of military escalation and how it could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis on the ground, and is committed to using every diplomatic tool available to save lives, avoid further military conflict, and work towards a negotiated solution to this crisis.
Rep. Lori Trahan
Excerpt from a May 10 press release provided by Rep. Trahan’s staff:
When I visited the Ukrainian border six weeks ago, I promised Ukrainians and our allies on the ground that the United States would stand by them no matter what,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “I’m proud of today’s vote, which is another critical step in fulfilling that pledge by delivering the military, humanitarian, and financial support that Ukraine desperately needs. Vladimir Putin cannot win this unjust and immoral war, and the United States will continue to support the heroic defense of Ukraine while punishing Putin, his oligarchs, and his generals for their war crimes.
Jason Pramas is executive editor and associate publisher of DigBoston.