WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today on the Senate floor joined members of the Senate Democratic Caucus in opposing U.S. Senator Roger Marshall’s (R-KS) request for unanimous consent (UC) to pass House Republicans’ partisan aid package, which includes funding for Israel but neglects to support Ukraine in its efforts to stave off Putin’s unrelenting attacks and conditions support for Israel by offsetting other federal funding. In his remarks, Durbin emphasized his support for passing security funding for Israel while reminding his colleagues that Ukraine is in dire need of its allies’ support.
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“I understand the concerns raised by my colleague from Kansas. I share many of them,” said Durbin. “We have all seen the horrifying videos and images, the scenes of death and destruction perpetrated by Hamas terrorists from October 7, the deadliest single day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. We all know that a return to the status quo is unacceptable… We must get aid to Israel.”
Durbin continued on, reminding his Republican colleagues that Russian officials sat down with high-ranking members of Hamas just weeks after the cruel terrorist attack in Israel. Durbin stressed that Congress must address the atrocities in both countries and push back against Hamas as a terrorist organization and Putin as a dictator.
“Think of this impromptu visit by the Hamas terrorists to Moscow… Coincidence? Just happened to be part of the travel plan? No. Hamas had already attacked Israel. They were branded as a terrorist group. Where did they go to find solace, where did they go to find a friend? They go to Moscow, to Vladimir Putin. Why would we get soft on Putin at this moment?” Durbin said.
He continued, “What’s happening in Israel is a mirror of what is happening in Ukraine. A tyrant with atrocious conduct, unprovoked invasion of a country, innocent people killed. That’s the story in both places. Yet, the Republicans come to the floor today and say to us ‘we are only concerned about one.’”
Durbin invoked President Zelenskyy’s own words as he spoke directly to Senators on both sides of the aisle during a visit to Congress in September.
“Two months ago, my colleagues joined me and others in the Old Senate Chamber for a private, secret, confidential meeting with the President of Ukraine. President Zelenskyy told us without equivocation that, ‘without the continued financial support of the United States and NATO, we will lose this war,’” said Durbin. “Now for the Republicans to say ‘step aside, let the aid to Ukraine, if it’s ever going to come, come much later’ is to jeopardize their future and to really make a mockery of the amazing display of courage seen in Ukraine resisting Russian aggression.”
“To pull back now would be unconscionable, a reflection of an America no longer being the world leader it purports to be and a boon for countries like Russia, China, and Iran – eager to fill any ensuing void,” Durbin continued. “Secretary Blinken said it plainly, ‘In both Israel and Ukraine, democracies are fighting ruthless foes who are out to annihilate them.’”
Calling for a comprehensive funding package that includes support for Israel, Ukraine, and humanitarian efforts in Gaza, Durbin concluded his remarks by reiterating the U.S.’ historic leadership in addressing humanitarian needs globally, particularly in the face of international conflict.
“One cannot look at the scenes coming out of Gaza without realizing there are many thousands of innocent victims, people who are not part of the terrorism of the Hamas leadership. People are simply trying to survive. The scenes coming from hospitals on a daily basis are a reminder to us that there is a desperate need for humanitarian aid… Humanitarian assistance is not only the right thing to do, it will save lives. It’ll help prevent the next conflict. It’ll serve as a down payment on our own security in the future.”
Durbin concluded, “I urge my colleagues to resist this effort by the Republicans to walk away from Ukraine and to ignore the obvious consequences. The people of Ukraine have shown extraordinary courage. I hope a majority of the Senate will as well.”
Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.
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