Senate Republicans Accuse Democrats of Blocking Aid to Ukraine for Political Reasons By Patrick Goodenough for CNS News
Senate Republicans accused Democrats Thursday of prioritizing “picking fights with the White House” over funding for America’s armed forces, after the minority blocked a defense spending bill for the second time.
Several Republicans saw irony in the fact that the stalled legislation includes military aid for Ukraine – the very issue Democrats are seeking to impeach President Trump over, alleging he delayed assistance to Kyiv for his own political purposes.
“Democrats just voted to block security assistance to Ukraine for political reasons – the very thing they accuse the president of doing,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R.-Ark.), a U.S. Army combat veteran.
“The Democratic Party is too busy impeaching President Trump for supposedly slow-walking assistance for Ukraine to fund the exact same program themselves,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Democrats countered that it is the Republicans who are preventing progress, by insisting on including in the legislation funding for Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“A bill that’s supposed to provide resources for our troops and their families, actually steals money from them and puts it toward a border wall that President Trump promised Mexico would pay for,” said Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) before the vote on a spending package that includes funding for defense.
The vote to advance the legislation was 51-41, short of the 60 votes needed. Democratic Sens. Doug Jones (Ala.) and Gary Peters (Mich.) voted yes. Among the eight senators who did not vote were all six Democrats running for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination.
Ahead of the vote, McConnell cited both the Middle East and Ukraine. The bill provides $745 million for training and equipping forces fighting against ISIS, and $250 million for a security assistance program for Ukraine that includes training, equipment, lethal assistance, and intelligence support.