WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, took to the Senate floor to urge his Republican colleagues to pass President Biden’s national security supplemental funding request, which includes emergency funds for Ukraine, Israel, the Indo-Pacific, and humanitarian crises. During his speech, Durbin implored Republicans to reflect on what the late President Ronald Reagan would think about their lack of willingness to help our Ukrainian friends in their fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s tyranny.
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“Thirty-six years ago, President Ronald Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate that separated East from West Berlin and he said to the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’ Only a few years after his historic speech, the Soviet Union collapsed, bringing in decades of freedom and prosperity in Eastern Europe and a welcome end to the Cold War. Now, there comes a man named Vladimir Putin who is clumsily and dangerously trying to regain that dystopian Soviet glory with a bloody war in Ukraine. So, I can only wonder what President Reagan would be thinking now with so many of his Republican Party members refusing to support critical military assistance to keep Ukraine from falling to Russian tyranny,” said Durbin.
Durbin continued, “Yes, we have other legislative needs in Congress. But refusing to support the forces of freedom in Ukraine in a war against a resurgent evil empire in the name of partisanship is nothing short of reckless. It is not hard to understand how we got here. Putin gambled and lost a botched attempt to quickly overthrow Ukraine. Now he has to juggle a formidable Ukrainian resistance, huge losses of Russian conscripts, isolation on the global stage, a struggling economy, domestic opposition, and an upcoming election in Russia he needs to rig again to stay in power… And so, given his tenuous position, what is one of his greatest opportunities for clinging to power? His hope that the partisan chaos in the United States Congress will stall or end support for Ukraine.”
At a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing earlier this month, Durbin questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin about the national security supplemental request and emphasized how detrimental it would be for the NATO alliance if the United States did not continue to financially support Ukraine. Secretary Blinken also emphasized Putin’s efforts to distract the U.S. from the war in Ukraine by meeting with Hamas leadership in Moscow amid the crisis in the Middle East.
Durbin concluded, “The White House was clear in warning that the United States is ‘out of money to support Ukraine in this fight.’ And President Zelenskyy told us the obvious: Ukraine will lose without American support. So, this is not abstract political theater. What we do has consequences—global and historic consequences. As such, I implore my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to think long and hard about what President Reagan would say today about showing weakness to Vladimir Putin. Let’s not flinch when it comes to standing up to such obvious threats to freedom. It’s time to pass President Biden’s national security supplemental request.”
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