Standing with the People of Ukraine

March 11, 2022

This week, the U.S. Senate voted on a bill to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. Funding for aid for the Ukrainian people was tucked into that bill. 

I have been following the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and I am incredibly concerned for the people there: the women and children who have been murdered in the streets by Vladimir Putin’s bombs; the housing complexes that have been destroyed; the maternity hospital that was bombed just this week, all from unprovoked Russian aggression.

I want to help these people. More importantly, as a U.S. Senator, the people of Wyoming who I represent want to help these people.

Because of this I was particularly appalled at the decision by Congressional Democrats to include Ukraine aid funding in the massive government funding omnibus that we are starting to consider.

As a former House member, and long-time legislator, I know that any big bill will include some good pieces and some bad, or as former Senator Al Simpson used to say, “some spinach.” But, frankly, I am disgusted that Ukraine aid is being strapped to a massive, irresponsible spending package such as this.

It forces Members of Congress to make an unnecessary choice: to choose between helping the Ukrainian people and further indebting our own constituents. It strikes me as a cynical ploy to buy votes, quite honestly.

It strikes me as a cynical ploy because of what I know about the rest of the omnibus spending bill. At a time when the United States is over $30 trillion in debt, instead of taking a serious look at our budget, we are increasing our non-defense discretionary spending by seven percent.

Worse still, this omnibus continues to fund President Biden’s vaccine mandates, even after the President himself has called for a return to normal.

This bill also contains anti-Second Amendment provisions that threaten the rights of law-abiding citizens in Wyoming.

Finally, after banning the practice for years, this omnibus contains around $10 billion in earmarks for pet projects around the country. Now, I am sympathetic to the argument that earmarks are a more direct way of addressing problems around the country. But earmarks have historically been abused both as a way for Congressional leadership to whip votes on bad legislation, and as a way to fund unnecessary pet projects to curry favor back home.

But instead of having a debate about these and other concerning aspects of this massive spending bill, Democrats have included Ukrainian aid funding in the text in an effort to bully Members of Congress into voting for this bill.

I, along with Senators Rick Scott, Marsha Blackburn and Roger Marshall, fought on the Senate Floor to have a stand-alone vote on aid for the people of Ukraine. This issue is entirely separate from the omnibus spending bill that Congress was considering, and should have been recognized as such on the House and Senate floor. Combining the two did a disservice to the people we are trying to help, and to the American people we serve.