Duckworth, Durbin, Brown, Senators Call for Immediate Legislative Action to Support Ukraine
Senators push for legislation to advance security assistance and economic support for Ukraine
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) led five other Senators in a letter urging U.S. Senate and House leaders and the Chair and Ranking Members of the U.S. Senate and House Appropriations Committees to immediately advance legislation that will provide critical and sustained security and economic support for Ukraine. Duckworth is a member of the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees and Durbin is Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus.
The Senators called for legislative action to guarantee that Ukraine has the critical resources necessary to continue to defend itself against Putin’s invasion. U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), John Fetterman (D-PA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined the Senators in signing the letter.
“It is past time for the U.S. Congress to take up and pass legislation guaranteeing Ukraine has the critical resources necessary to continue defending themselves against Putin’s illegal war,” the Senators wrote. “We urge you to act immediately to advance legislation that will provide critical and sustained security and economic support for Ukraine to the President’s desk for his signature.”
The letter is addressed to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, U.S. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Chair Patty Murray, U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Vice Chair Susan Collins, U.S. House Committee on Appropriations Chair Kay Granger and U.S. House Committee on Appropriations Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro.
Duckworth has been a strong supporter of Ukraine in their fight against Russia’s invasion, including leading a group of lawmakers in urging Congress to pass immediate additional aid for Ukraine yesterday. As combat Veterans, she and U.S. Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) penned an op-ed on their support in the New York Times. Additionally, she joined U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jon Tester (D-MT) and six of her colleagues in introducing the Digital Asset Sanctions Compliance Enhancement Act to ensure that Vladimir Putin and Russian elites can’t use digital assets to undermine the international community’s economic sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. Duckworth also urged the Biden Administration to accelerate the sale of M1A2 SEPv3 tanks to Poland and called on the Administration to grant Temporary Protected Status to Ukrainians in the U.S. following the Russian military invasion.
Durbin has been a vocal supporter of Ukraine in the Senate. Earlier this year, Durbin sent a letter to President Joe Biden once again urging his Administration to support the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation into the atrocities committed in Ukraine. Durbin and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) previously wrote to President Biden in March to emphasize the urgency of aiding the ICC’s investigation into Russian atrocities in Ukraine, which the Administration agreed to do so in July. Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Durbin, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Graham introduced the bipartisan Justice for Victims of War Crimes Act – which updates the current war crimes statute to enable prosecution of war criminals in the United States regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator or victim. The bill was signed into law by President Biden. Durbin-authored legislation restricting U.S. recognition of any forcibly annexed areas of Ukraine by Russia also passed as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act and was included again in the Senate-passed FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act.
Full text of the letter can be found here and below:
October 4, 2023
Dear Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell, Leader Jeffries, Chair Murray, Vice Chair Collins, Chair Granger, and Ranking Member DeLauro:
We write to request urgent action to advance critical and sustained security assistance and economic support for Ukraine. We appreciate the bipartisan statement issued by Senate leadership over the weekend, reiterating that support for Ukraine remains a top legislative priority. Congress cannot sit idly by while Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine continues.
This past weekend, Congress came together to pass a bipartisan continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded and avoid an unnecessary and devastating government shutdown. We supported this important compromise to ensure a functioning United States government. However, we share our constituents’ frustration and concern that this package failed to include emergency funding necessary to support Ukraine in its response to Putin’s inhumane and illegal war. The bipartisan Senate CR included significant emergency funding for Ukraine, and we urge you to build on this work and put forward a bipartisan, bicameral funding package for Ukraine as soon as possible.
Now is not the time to slow our aid to Ukraine. Russian forces continue to bomb civilian populations – targeting hospitals, schools, churches, and apartment buildings. Such brutal, egregious violations of Ukrainian sovereignty and Ukrainian citizens’ basic human rights must not go unanswered. Our allies and partners continue to look to the United States to lead the effort to hold Russia accountable and stand up for democratic values and norms.
While Ukraine has started its counteroffensive and made progress in stemming the tide of the war, without sustained support, Ukraine’s aerial defense will falter, and munitions will run critically low. The Department of Defense (DOD) has exhausted nearly all available security assistance funding for Ukraine. While the Ukrainian soldiers are some the world’s best fighters, the Russian war machine funding is not stopping and dictators, like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, are aligning themselves with their malign effort. Our resolve signals to bad actors around the world – including the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) – that the U.S. and world’s democracies will not let an authoritarian regime invade a sovereign nation.
Our states are home to thousands of members of the Ukrainian diaspora. We hear from them daily, and they remind us of the importance of continuing our commitment to helping Ukrainians defend themselves and their homes. They have shared stories about their friends and family members who are living under constant threat of indiscriminate aerial bombing of civilian targets. We must follow their lead and reaffirm that American leadership remains committed to democracy and human rights.
Two weeks ago, President Zelenskyy addressed Members of Congress and made clear the vital need for additional aid. We appreciate the commitment exhibited both by President Biden and Senate leadership toward meeting President Zelenskyy’s call for action. Now that a government shutdown has been averted, we must provide Ukraine the resources necessary to defend themselves.
It is past time for the U.S. Congress to take up and pass legislation guaranteeing Ukraine has the critical resources necessary to continue defending themselves against Putin’s illegal war. We urge you to act immediately to advance legislation that will provide critical and sustained security and economic support for Ukraine to the President’s desk for his signature.
Thank you for your attention to this critical priority.
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