House passes resolution backing Ukraine; Three Republicans vote ‘no’
The House passed a resolution on Wednesday to declare support for Ukraine’s sovereignty in the face of the invasion ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, while urging an “immediate cease-fire.”
Lawmakers in both parties voted near-unanimously in favor of the resolution, 426-3. The only votes in opposition were from three Republicans: Reps. Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Thomas Massie (Ky.) and Matt Rosendale (Mont.).
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said it was “unreal” that three fellow Republicans voted against the resolution.
“Talk to me when our border is secure,” Gosar retorted on Twitter.
Massie said he opposed the resolution because he thought it was overly broad in its stated support for providing defense assistance to Ukraine, among other things. He also argued that the call for isolating Russia economically could ultimately backfire if “innocent people in Russia” suffer under harsh sanctions and develop resentments against America.
“I fully support the right of the people of Ukraine to self determination. However there are many reasons I could not vote for the seven page Resolution that passed the House of Representatives today,” Massie wrote in a series of tweets.
The resolution, which is nonbinding, states that the House “stands steadfastly, staunchly, proudly, and fervently behind the Ukrainian people in their fight against the authoritarian Putin regime.”
It also calls for the U.S. and its allies “to deliver additional and immediate defensive security assistance to help Ukraine address the armored, airborne, and other threats Ukraine is currently facing from Russian forces.”
The resolution further asserts that American lawmakers “will never recognize or support any illegitimate Russian-controlled leader or government installed through the use of force.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), the author of the resolution, said the vote offered lawmakers an opportunity to formally register support for Ukraine after Russian troops began their assault on the nation last week.
“With this resolution, it becomes crystal clear: Mr. Putin, you can’t win this. We’re going to stand against you and we’re going to preserve democracy, because that’s what’s at stake here,” Meeks said on the House floor.
Wednesday’s House vote came hours after the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Only Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria backed Russia in that vote.
The Senate also passed a similar resolution last month in support of Ukraine ahead of the invasion.
Senators agreed to that bipartisan resolution in the face of failing to get a deal on a sweeping package to impose sanctions on Russia as it amassed troops along the Ukrainian border.
The U.S. and other European allies have issued a series of increasingly harsh sanctions in recent days, including cutting off some Russian banks’ access to a messaging service connecting global financial institutions and targeting Russia’s central bank.
President Biden further announced during his State of the Union address Tuesday night that the U.S. will ban Russian aircraft from American airspace, following similar moves by the European Union and Canada.
Tangible aid to Ukraine in the form of funding for military and humanitarian assistance, however, remains unsettled in Congress.
The Biden administration has asked Congress to approve $6.4 billion to bolster the U.S. response to the Ukraine crisis, but it’s possible lawmakers could approve even more funding.
That includes $2.9 billion for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development for humanitarian relief efforts, as well as security assistance to Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic states and NATO allies. The other $3.5 billion would go toward additional funding for the Defense Department.
Lawmakers are eyeing the inclusion of the Ukraine aid into a broader government funding package known as an omnibus. Current funding for the federal government expires next Friday, March 11, meaning that the omnibus package could be a ready legislative vehicle that would need to be passed by Congress in the coming days anyway.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that lawmakers were close to an agreement on the Ukrainian aid package.
“We should probably have all of that done today, because we have to be on schedule for the omnibus,” Pelosi told reporters. “It’s the vehicle that’s leaving the station.”