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Schumer arrives in Ukraine, pressures House to greenlight aid

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) arrived in Ukraine on Friday, part of a congressional delegation set to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as the nation marks the two-year anniversary of the start of its war with Russia.

Schumer is being joined by four fellow Senate Democrats — Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jack Reed (R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Michael Bennet (Colo.) and Maggie Hassan (N.H.) — in an effort to show Kyiv that the U.S. still stands behind the war-torn country despite the struggle to approve a new tranche of aid.

In a statement, the Democratic leader said he hoped to put pressure on Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to pass the national security spending package the upper chamber passed last week that includes $60 billion in economic and military assistance for Kyiv.

“We are here to show the Ukrainian people that America stands with them and will continuing fighting to get the funding they so desperately need and deserve. We will not stop fighting until we gain the aid,” Schumer said. “We believe we are at an inflection point in history and we must make it clear to our friends and allies around the globe that the US does not back away from our responsibilities and allies. If we fail to stand by our allies there will be severe political, diplomatic, economic, and military consequences that will significantly hurt the American people over the next decades.”

“When we return to Washington, we will make clear to Speaker Johnson – and others in Congress who are obstructing military and economic support – exactly what is at stake here in Ukraine and for the rest of Europe and the free world,” Schumer continued. “We will keep working to ensure Congress steps up, does the right thing, and delivers help for our friends and allies.”

Seventy senators, including 22 Republicans, voted to pass the Senate’s proposal in a pre-dawn vote Feb. 13.

It remains an open question whether the House will move ahead with any vote on aid. A bipartisan group of House members rolled out a new proposal earlier this week that would give $66 billion to embattled nations, including $47 billion for Ukraine. It would also reinstate the “Remain in Mexico” policy for a year as the border portion of the measure.

Schumer told Punchbowl News he hopes to talk to Johnson after his visit and added that the delegation is not bipartisan in part because the GOP is “torn” on the issue. He also pointed to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) visit to Ukraine in May 2022 only including Republicans.

The visit also comes two weeks after a bipartisan House congressional delegation visited Ukraine and met with Zelensky. House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) was part of that group.

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