In the wake of the historic ousting of U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, and amid a looming crisis over federal spending, Democrats are lining up to tout their commitment to shutting down the government if lawmakers won’t approve additional funding for Ukraine.
“We’re going to do whatever we have to do to fight to make sure Ukraine funding happens and it happens in a way that gives them the unbroken resources that they need to continue to repel this Russian invasion,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said this week during an interview.
When asked if he would be willing to hold up legislation that comes through the Senate that omits Ukraine funding, Booker said there is widespread support for continuing funding.
“I have never seen the kind of resolve in my caucus, and I wish there were public meetings to see the passionate speeches given across the spectrum of my caucus in the Senate about how the urgency we all see, people have quoted history, we’ve had people who stood up who had relatives who survived the Holocaust, the speeches I’ve heard in our private meetings in the Senate are so strong in support of Ukraine,” Booker told host Kaitlan Collins.
“And I know from talking to my Republican colleagues over there that there is a strong support there as well,” he added. “So, I have every confidence that we’re going to do whatever we have to do to fight to make sure Ukraine funding happens and it happens in a way that gives them the unbroken resources that they need to continue to repel this Russian invasion.”
As of January 2023, the U.S. had already provided $113 billion in aid to Ukraine, government documents show. President Joe Biden recently requested another $24 billion in aid as Ukraine continues fighting Russia in a conflict that began in February 2022.
Booker’s interview aired just a day before Ukraine suffered a devastating attack by Russian forces which resulted in the deaths of 52 Ukrainians.
On a separate network the same day, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) said he would be willing to shut down the government to keep U.S. money going to Ukraine.
“I definitely am. I definitely am,” Bennet explained in response to a question about closing government and holding up a bill that does not include Ukraine funding.
“I said on Saturday that my mom, she’s a Polish Jew, she was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1938, it’s very easy to see from her perspective, she survived — with the perspective of the 16 million people that were killed in Ukraine and Poland during World War II, how they get forgotten by politicians here that seem to be concerned with a different set of imperatives,” Bennet told MSNBC host Katy Tur.
“And Katy, I don’t think this is a moment for politics. It’s not a question of when we go home, do we stay here, do we make a trade for this, or do we make a trade for that,” he added. “I think that we’ve given a little over $70 billion, which is less than what the Europeans have put in this war.”
A recent poll shows that more than half of the U.S. believes Congress should not authorize additional Ukraine funding.
Biden said this week he is planning a national address to make the case to the American people for why he believes the U.S. must continue providing aid to Ukraine.