Five House Republican-backed initiatives to curtail aid to Ukraine using the annual Pentagon policy bill were shot down Thursday afternoon in votes that saw a consensus from both sides of the aisle to keep money flowing to Kyiv.
The Ukraine-related amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would have effectively limited or rolled back U.S. involvement in Ukraine, but a majority of Republicans joined Democrats in opposition to the proposals.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) put forth one amendment to strike $300 million in Ukraine funding that failed 89-341, with 130 Republicans joining all Democrats in voting against it.
Another proposal from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), which would have prohibited all security assistance for Ukraine, similarly failed 70-358 on the House floor, with 149 Republicans opposing it.
Ahead of the votes, the two GOP-sponsored amendments drew strong opposition from within the party, including from Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who said he would “oppose any cutting of the defense.”
“We know this is a worldwide war that we’re in of authoritarians versus democracies; this is not a war we chose, war criminal [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is the person who started the war” Feb. 24, 2022, Wilson said on the House floor.
He cited former President Reagan, saying he believes in “peace through strength.”
And Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.), who was born in Ukraine, spoke sharply against Gaetz’s measure.
“I disagree that Ukraine is not a national interest,” Spartz said. “Stopping this war and deterring aggressors like China and Russia, it is in our national interest.”
“Now we need to help Ukraine, and we need to understand that, you know, there are a lot of life are going to, you know, to be lost for Ukrainians, but we need to make sure that we don’t have never-ending war and better and faster security assistance will be help to restore peace,” she added.
Other amendments to not pass were a second from Greene to strike the creation of a Center of Excellence in Ukraine, which failed 95-332; one from Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) to require the White House to develop a report to Congress on the strategy for U.S. involvement in Ukraine, which failed 129-301; and one from Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) to strike a lend-lease authority to Ukraine, rejected on a 71-360 vote.
Democrats did push for several Ukraine-related priorities that ended up not making it to vote, including an amendment from Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) to stop the United States from transferring cluster munitions abroad.
President Biden last week made the “difficult decision” to approve the transfer of the controversial weapons to Ukraine, which have arrived in the country as of Thursday.